By Roy Mabasa
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said it continues to monitor the situation in Damascus and have alerted overseas Filipino workers in and around the area to “exercise caution and be vigilant” in the wake of reported plans by the Syrian Army to launch an all-out offensive against Islamic militants.
“Philippine Embassy Charge d’Affaires Alex Lamadrid is advising members of the Filipino community in affected areas in Syria to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary travel due to the impending offensive against extremists who seized the Yarmouk refugee camp in the southern part of Damascus in 2015,” the DFA said in a statement.
Yarmouk, which is located some 12 kilometers from where the Philippine Embassy is situated, is one of the last strongholds being held by extremist militants.
“The advisory is also intended to ensure the safety and security of the estimated 1,000 Filipinos still in Syria given the almost daily shellings and airstrikes in various parts of the country,” the DFA said.
The latest advisory from the Philippine government came several days after the United States and its allies, the United Kingdom and France, launched military strikes in the Syrian capital to stop the suspected use of chemical weapons.
The airstrikes were directed to condemn the further deadly attacks by the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
There were no reports of casualties among the Filipinos working in the capital and other locations in Syria.