Canada updates Middle East travel advisories due to 'increased threat of attacks'
TORONTO -- The Canadian government has updated a raft of travel advisories for countries in the Middle East “due to an increased threat of attacks.”
Tensions have escalated across the region in recent days following a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, which killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani early Friday.
The Canadian government’s travel advisory service tweeted on Saturday that it had “updated security advice for multiple destinations in the region due to an increased threat of attacks.”
“The security situation could worsen with little warning. Exercise caution,” the notice read.
The Canadian government has also temporarily suspended a NATO training mission in Iraq amid security concerns, defence minister Harjit Sajjan announced on Saturday.
“We are taking all necessary precautions for the safety and security of our civilian and military personnel,” Sajjan said in a statement.
Sajjan added that Canada “continues to monitor and evaluate the situation” and remains in talks with international partners.
Travel warnings extended
Canadian travellers were warned to avoid all travel to Iraq on Friday. This was extended to Syria and Afghanistan on Saturday.
According to government guidelines, there is an extreme risk to personal safety in these countries and people already there should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.
Countries where visitors are advised to “exercise a high degree of caution” were updated to include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.
This means there are “identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice,” according to the government of Canada. It recommends monitoring local media and following the instructions of local authorities.
The same warning is in place with added regional advisories to avoid all travel or non-essential travel in more dangerous parts of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Travellers to Qatar are recommended to take normal security precautions, meaning there are no significant safety and security concerns.