USIS Washington 

19 December 1998


(State warns US citizens to defer travel to Syria) (290)

Washington -- The State Department has urged US citizens to defer
nonessential travel to Syria and advised US citizens there to restrict
their movements and "maintain a low profile."

The Travel Warning issued December 19 also said that following a large
demonstration in Damascus during which the US Embassy, the
Ambassador's residence and USIS facilities were damaged, the embassy
will be closed December 20.

Following is the State Department text:

(begin text)

Travel Warning

United States Department of State


December 19, 1998

The Department of State warns United States citizens to defer
nonessential travel to Syria in light of U.S. military action
undertaken against Iraq and the potential for retaliatory action.

On December 19, a large demonstration was held at the US Embassy in
Damascus. Demonstrators also protested at the Ambassador's residence,
USIS, and the Damascus community school. All of these facilities
sustained some damage.

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus will be closed Sunday, December 20, 1998.

In the event of an American citizen requiring emergency assistance,
please call the American Embassy on (963) (11) 333-2814 or call (963)
(11) 6l3-4593.

American citizens in Syria are advised to limit their movement to the
maximum extent possible. The embassy also urges that they maintain a
low profile and be especially aware of their security posture until
the conflict with Iraq is resolved. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus
further urges that American citizens resident in Syria maintain
contact with wardens while the embassy is closed.

For further information on travel to Syria, please consult the
department of State's latest consular information sheet for Syria.

(end text)