India asks citizens to avoid Syrian travel

New Delhi: With Syria being in turmoil, India today issued a travel advisory asking its nationals to avoid non-essential travel to that country. "In view of the situation prevailing in parts of Syria, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Syria for the present," said the advisory issued by the External Affairs Ministry.

About 1,000 Indians are staying in Syria, most of them in and around the capital Damascus. Government sources said the situation had not yet reached such a stage that those Indians need to be evacuated.

Syria has been witnessing strife and violence for months as pro-democracy protesters have taken repeatedly to the streets to demand ouster of the al-Assad regime. Reflecting worsening of the situation, Syrian capital Damascus has seen two deadly bombings in the last two weeks.

A suicide bomber on Friday blew himself up, killing 26 people and wounding dozens in Damascus. According to UN estimates estimates more than 5,000 people have died since anti-Bashar protests erupted in March last year, prompting an iron-fist response from the regime.