Bahrainis in UK, Syria ‘safe and well’
Manama, August 10, 2011
Bahrainis living in the UK and Syria appear to be safe and well, top foreign ministry officials said yesterday (August 9).
Bahrain's Embassy in London is continuing to monitor violence in the UK and will be issuing guidance if required, officials said. However, no Bahrainis had come forward to say they had been affected yesterday.
'No one reported any incident, but we are keeping an eye on the situation - especially with students,' an embassy official said by telephone yesterday.
'The Cultural Attache is very close to our students and is keeping in touch with them. Nothing happened until now and we hope it stays like this.'
Rioting, looting, arson attacks and police clashes with masked gangs have occurred across London over the past few days, particularly Notting Hill, Clapham, Peckham, Hackney, Croydon and Ealing.
The violence also spread outside London to the northwest city of Liverpool, Birmingham and the western city of Bristol.
However, the embassy official said most Bahrainis were not living in the affected areas.
'We are keeping an eye on the situation and if anything happens we will issue a statement and it is likely we would issue additional guidance, but it is not serious at the moment,' he said.
'We don't want them to panic, if things get worse we will issue guidance, but I think the problem will calm down by today or tomorrow, I don't think it will spread further.'
Emergency hotlines have been set up for Bahrainis seeking help in the wake of violent riots.
The emergency numbers are (+44) 783 672 2148, (+44) 783 130 4623 and (+44) 207 201 9170.
None of the Bahrainis living in Syria has informed the authorities of any problems they may be facing in the country, said Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary for Regional and GCC Affairs Hamad Al Amer.
But as a precautionary measure the Foreign Ministry's Twitter account @BahDiplomatic has tweeted numbers for any citizen needing help, he said.
'It's just a precaution and we didn't receive any report that anyone has been affected,' Al Amer said.
'I'm sure no one has been affected, it's Ramadan and there is no religious occasion to visit Syria because usually it's a place for tourists, so I don't think any Bahrainis are there. There could be students or Bahrainis staying with family members, but so far no one has reported anything.'
Al Amer said the Foreign Ministry had asked Bahrain's Ambassador to Syria to return home for consultation and he was already here on holiday.
He said the Bahrain Embassy in Damascus was operating as normal and the Charge d'Affaires had been left in charge.
'The ambassador will go back to Syria when we finish the term of consultation with him. Our ambassador was already on holiday in Bahrain, our diplomats like to spend Ramadan in Bahrain with their family and friends.'
Bahraini citizens requiring assistance in Syria should call +963 116132314 or +963 116132315.
Syria has faced nearly five months of protests against President Bashar Al Assad's 11-year rule, inspired by Arab revolts which overthrew leaders in Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year. Syrian authorities say armed groups have killed 500 soldiers and police since the uprising erupted in March and rights groups say at least 1,600 civilians have been killed. – TradeArabia News Service