Thai Foreign Ministry helps evacuate Thai nationals from Syria

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BANGKOK, July 27 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping evacuate Thai nationals from violence-torn Syria, according to ministry spokesperson Thani Thongphakdi, who said 22 Thais seeking help to return to Thailand could leave Damascus on Sunday.

Mr Thani, who heads the ministry’s department of information, said the honorary consul-general in Damascus, the Syrian capital, is preparing documents for the Thais wanting to return to Bangkok.

Some were found to have expired visas and the consul has facilitated paying the fine.

The Thai consul was buying air tickets for them but it is difficult as foreigners were scrambling to leave Syria as the situation worsens.

Mr Thani said he expected the Thais to leave Syria for another Middle Eastern country before taking a direct flight to Bangkok.

If the plan goes smoothly, the 22 Thais could leave Syria on Sunday, he said.

The honorary consul, in touch with the leader of some 40 Thai students intending to stay, told them to avoid at risk areas.

Violence has rocked the Syrian capital with rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The ongoing uprising has left more than 19,000 people dead, including soldiers, non-combatant civilians and rebels, across the country since fighting erupted in March 2011.