The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a travel warning that urges U.S. citizens to depart Syria, amid volatility and political unrest in the country.

The warning advises that travelers should try to get out of the country "while commercial transportation is readily available." It also recommends against all travel to Syria at this time and against all nonessential travel within the country.

"Since March 2011, demonstrations throughout Syria have been violently suppressed by Syrian security forces, resulting in hundreds of deaths," the State Department reported.

According to the warning, several Syrian cities, including Damascus, have been placed under heightened security.

"Syrian efforts to attribute the current civil unrest to external influences may lead to an increase in anti-foreigner sentiment," the State Department cautioned. "Detained U.S. citizens may find themselves subject to allegations of incitement or espionage."

The warning supersedes a warning issued earlier this month by the State Department, which urged against all nonessential travel to the Middle Eastern country.

Political unrest in Syria escalated last month, as clashes between opposition protesters and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turned violent.


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