France Tells Citizens to Leave Syria


France advised its citizens in Syria Saturday to leave the country as security forces continue to clamp down on pro-democracy protests.

"We advise French citizens who are still in Syria to leave the country by commercial transport," the foreign ministry said in the travel advice section of its website.

"Considering the escalation of tensions in Syria, it is strongly advised to abandon any plans to visit the country," it added.

Security forces backed by tanks have been trying to crush dissent city by city and town by town since pro-democracy protests erupted in mid-March.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 2,192 people have been confirmed dead since then -- 1,782 civilians and 410 members of the security forces.

France already at the beginning of May counseled its citizens to delay non-essential travel to Syria.

The United States last week also advised its citizens to depart Syria immediately.