British citizens in Syria have been urged to leave the country after more than 100 demonstrators were killed in the bloodiest day of anti-government protests since the uprising began.
In updated travel advice, the Foreign Office said there had been a “rapid deterioration” in the country’s security situation and Britons without a pressing need to remain should get out while commercial flights were still available.
“Given the situation on the ground, it is highly unlikely that the British Embassy would be able to provide a normal consular service in the event of a further breakdown of law and order and increased violent civil disorder,” it said. “British nationals should therefore plan accordingly.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the latest crackdown by Syrian security forces, which left more than 100 dead on Friday, the highest death toll in a single day since the uprising began five weeks ago.
“The Syrian authorities must act quickly and decisively to calm this dangerous situation and can only do so by responding to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people,” he said.
Mr Hague also provided an update on the situation in Libya, warning that the withdrawal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces from the city of Misrata might only be a ruse.
Rebel leaders claimed a major victory on Saturday after the Gaddafi regime announced that it was pulling back its troops, but Mr Hague said the move might simply represent a change in tactics. “This may be cover for using more insurgency-type warfare without any uniforms and without tanks,” he added.
Mr Hague said there was “no doubt” that the regime was under growing military pressure.
Battle for Misrata: Page 13.