No Filipino casualty in Syrian airstrikes: DFA

MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Saturday that no Filipino was reported among the casualties in military strikes in Syria at about 4 a.m. Damascus time.

DFA communication chief Elmer Cato said the Philippine Embassy in Damascus has been contacting members of the Filipino community to check their on situation since the missile strikes began.

"So far, the Embassy has not received any reports of Filipino casualties in the attacks that appear to have targeted military installations in and around Damascus," he said.

"The Embassy also has not received any request for assistance from any of the estimated 500 Filipinos in Damascus and the other 500 in other parts of Syria," he added.

The department, for its part, reminded all Filipinos to stay inside their homes.

Cato said the Embassy had issued advisories to members of the Filipino Community as early as April 8 in anticipation of a possible military action against Syria, following the alleged chemical attack in Douma and the mortar shelling of certain parts of Damascus in recent weeks.

"The Embassy has issued an advisory requesting our kababayans to stay in their homes until further advice," he said.

On Saturday (Manila time), United States President Donald Trump announced the joint US-British-French operation targeting the regime of Ashar al-Bassad in retaliation for the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Eastern Ghouta on April 7.

The Philippine Embassy on Saturday afternoon reported that at least three military installations in Damascus and several other areas in Syria were targeted in the missile attacks.

Among those targeted was an installation located 1 km. from the Embassy.

All personnel of the Philippine Embassy led by Charge d'Affaires Crescente Relacion are safe and accounted for, according to the DFA.

There were 17,000 Filipinos in Syria when the civil war erupted in 2011. Syria remained under crisis alert level IV since then.

According to Cato, the remaining 1,000 Filipinos in Syria are mostly spouses of Syrian nationals and household service workers.

With the highest crisis alert level still in place, a labor deployment ban for new Filipino workers has been imposed. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency