Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The State Department on Friday ordered non-emergency staff of the U.S. embassy in Lebanon and their families to leave due to security concerns.
The embassy in Beirut said on its website that the evacuation was prompted by threats to its personnel and facilities ahead of the 12th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attack and a possible U.S. military strike on neighboring Syria.
It also warned American citizens against traveling to Lebanon and those in the country to prepare to leave at short notice.
“Given the current tensions the region, as well as potential threats to US government facilities and personnel, we are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution to protect our employees and their families, and local employees and visitors to our facilities,” state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.
The State Department also ordered non-essential staff of the U.S. embassy in Adana, Turkey to evacuate.
Reports said the Hezbollah in Lebanon can retaliate if the U.S. attacks Syria by attacking the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
President Barack Obama is seeking the U.S. Congress’ approval of his proposal to hit forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the regime from using chemical weapons following the gassing of civilians in a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 people.
Obama said Assad’s troops were responsible for the chemical attack.