Thai students leave Syria as situation worsens

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BANGKOK, July 25 – Seventeen Thai students are leaving the Syrian Arab Republic today after fighting there has worsened and spread into the capital Damascus.

The students expressed their wish to return home. Their plane tickets were managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via Thai Honorary Consul-General in Damascus.

About 50 Thais are living in Damascus, Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said, most being Thai women married to Syrians and having no wish to leave the country.

Thai workers returned home several months ago, as noted by Thailand’s Employment Department Director-General Prawit Khiangphon on Monday.

Violence has rocked the Syrian capital with rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Unrest has spread to Aleppo, Syria’s main commercial and industrial hub, where rebels are also locked in battle with government 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.