Filipinos in Syria urged to stay home amid U.S.-led air strikes
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine embassy officials have advised Filipinos in Syria to stay home as the United States led missile strikes on that country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday, April 14.
“The Embassy has issued an advisory requesting our kababayans (countrymen) to stay in their homes until further advice,” DFA Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy Elmer Cato said in a statement.
Cato said that the DFA has been in touch with the Philippine embassy and monitoring the situation in Syria in the wake of the missile strikes on targets in Damascus and other areas.
Cato said that as early as April 8, Philippine embassy officials have sent advisories to Filipinos in Syria “in anticipation of possible military action against Syria following the alleged chemical attack in Douma and the mortar shelling of certain parts of Damascus in recent weeks.”
The DFA official said in an update that there were no reports, so far, of any Filipino hurt following the air strikes.
"The Embassy has been contacting members of the Filipino Community to check their situation since the missile strikes began around 4 am Damascus time. So far, the Embassy has not received any reports of Filipino casualties in the attacks that appear to have targeted military installations in and around Damascus," he said.
"The Embassy also has not received any requests for assistance from any of the estimated 500 Filipinos in Damascus and the other 500 in other parts of Syria," Cato added.
He said that based on the embassy report, at least 3 military installations in Damascus and other areas in Syria were the targets of that morning's missile attacks, among them, Aan installation located one kilometer from the Philippine embassy.
Cato said Chargé d’Affaires Crescente Relacion "described the more or less one hour missile barrage" as "like New Year in Manila."
On Saturday, April 14 (Philippine time), US President Donald Trump announced that the US, Britain, and France have launched military strikes against the regime of Ashar al-Bassad.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Friday, April 13, that Trump was analyzing all the information and taking measures to avoid any unwanted repercussions, in relation to the planned missile strikes.
The US earlier strongly condemned an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta on April 7. Separate analysis by the United States, France, and Britain have concluded that a chemical attack took place in the rebel-held town of Douma, said Haley. – With a report from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com