BEIRUT: The United Kingdom advised its citizens Friday against all but essential travel to Lebanon due to spiking regional tensions and an increase of violence linked to the war in Syria, changing its long-standing position on the safety of its citizens in the country.
“We have taken tough call to change our advice temporarily, & discourage travel to Lebanon,” British Ambassador Tom Fletcher tweeted.
The official travel advisory warned against all but essential travel to the country and warned against all travel to Tripoli, the Syrian border, parts of the Bekaa Valley and Beirut's Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs.
The advisory said the change was made “due to the recent upsurge in violence and wider regional tensions.”
A string of car bombs have rattled Lebanon recently while an intervention in Syria over the government alleged use of chemical weapons looms.
The British parliament voted against military intervention in Syria Thursday, but Western strikes against the country are still possible.
“For Brits intending to travel to Lebanon, this means that you need to assess whether your trip really is essential. For Brits already in Lebanon, you should consider whether it’s essential that you remain for the coming period,” Fletcher wrote in a blog post.
The embassy also warned of the high threat from terrorism.
“The security situation can deteriorate quickly. There is potential for further violence, which could restrict departure options,” the warning said.