Contrary to recent media reports, Qatar Airways has confirmed scheduled passenger flights to and from Syria are fully operational and that reports the airline has suspended services are completely unfounded. Qatar Airways has only reduced frequency from ten flights a week to seven services each week to and from Damascus due to a reduction in traffic.
At least 10 people are said to have died in renewed protests across Syria against President Bashar al-Assad. Security forces fired tear gas and bullets after Friday prayers in the capital Damascus, but Syrian state TV blamed unidentified gunmen for some deaths. More than 1,300 people have been killed and thousands more detained since a crackdown on anti-government protests began in March.
British residents still in Syria have been warned to leave as soon as possible by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The warning comes as violent disturbances in urban centres across the country, including the capital Damascus, continue.
Travellers in the Middle East have been urged to flee Syria as government forces move into the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour to crush dissent. Heavy fighting was reported by state media, with armed groups using tanks and helicopters to attack anti-government protestors.
Officials at the US State Department have urged all citizens still in Syria to “depart immediately” while commercial transportation is readily available. Political circumstances in the Middle Eastern country have continued to deteriorate in recent days, with the US acknowledging the “volatility of the current situation”.
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