With tensions rising in the Middle East, travellers are understandably concerned at the advisability of travel to many countries in the region. The question on traveller’s lips is whether there’s a risk in travelling to the countries of the Middle East and where they can keep up to date on the latest situation?
What are the Dangers and Where?
Turkey / Syria
Currently the dangers are the escalating tit-for-tat actions between Turkey and Syria with careless shelling by Syria infuriating Turkey after five Turkish civilians were killed. At the moment the problems are minor in the big scheme of things but with Russia weighing in on Syria’s side and NATO making supportive noises for Turkey there’s the potential things could get difficult. The flashpoints at the moment are around the Syrian/Turkish border, not far from where Foreign Office advice says that conflict with the Kurds also means that travellers should avoid the area. Elsewhere in Turkey is deemed to be safe.
Lebanon / Israel
The Lebanon/Israel issue has been raised in profile recently after the Israelis shot down a Hezbollah drone that had flown over its territory. Equally, trouble has sporadically flared between the Gaza Strip and Israel and along the Sinai border with Egypt.
Egypt still has political problems with occasional flare-ups of rioting and violence over the change of government. Many of the problems centre on the capital Cairo and Foreign Office advice is to remain wary of demonstrations that crop up frequently, especially around Tahrir Square. At the moment the FCO advise that travel to the Red Sea resorts such as Sherm El Sheikh
is currently safe.
Travellers to Cyprus have expressed concern over the geographical position of the island in potential conflicts between Turkey and Syria. Despite the proximity, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office say there’s currently no threat but should matters escalate further, travellers to the east of the island should visit the FCO website in the run up to their travel date.
Where Should I Check for Advice?
If you have booked through a travel agent, you should receive information and advice from them about whether you should travel. They will have received their advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If you are still in any doubt, go directly to the FCO website and check the country page. Advice is colour coded and marked on a map for ease of understanding. Visit www.fco.gov.uk
for further help and select the region and then the country from the alphabetical menu.