PH issues security alert in Syria amid impending offensive vs. IS

MANILA The Philippine government continues to monitor the situation in Damascus and has issued the latest security advisory to Filipino nationals residing in the area amid looming offensive to drive Islamic State militants from its last bastion in the area, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

"We continue to monitor the situation in Damascus and have alerted our kababayans there to exercise caution and be vigilant ahead of plans of the Syrian Army to eject Islamic militants from their last stronghold in the capital," said Elmer Cato, assistant secretary of the DFA-Office of Public Diplomacy on Wednesday night.

The Philippine Embassy in Damascus, headed by Charge d'Affaires Alex Lamadrid, reiterated the agency's call and advised members of the Filipino community to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.

An impending offensive against extremists who seized the Yarmouk refugee camp in the southern part of Damascus in 2015 is expected should talks on rebel evacuation agreement fails.

According to Cato, at least 1,000 Filipinos are still in Syria despite frequent shellings and airstrikes in various parts of the country if talks of an evacuation deal fall through.

Yarmouk is located just 12 kilometers from the embassy. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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