In the wake of Turkey’s offensive in Syria, the Indian government Wednesday issued a travel advisory asking its citizens to “exercise utmost caution” while traveling to the country. With several people reaching out to the government with queries on the situation, the Minister of External Affairs has put out helpline numbers of the Indian Mission in Ankara and Istanbul for travelers requiring assistance.
“Although there have been no reports of the untoward incident in the country so far, involving Indian nationals, travelers are required to exercise utmost caution while traveling to Turkey,” the advisory read.
The helpline numbers included the Indian Embassy in Ankara (90312-4408259, 90312-4382195) and Consulate General of Instanbul (90212-2962131, 90312-4382195).
President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw US troops from the Syrian-Turkish border opened doors for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch an offensive against the Syrian Kurds earlier this month. The offensive has resulted in the deaths of at least a dozen civilians and forced 160,000 people to flee from the northern border, according to the United Nations.
On October 10, Turkish jets and artillery targeted Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria, forcing thousands of civilians to flee their homes.
The Indian government had expressed “deep concern” over the “unilateral military offensive” by Turkey in northeastern Syria, saying that this action could undermine stability in the region as well as the fight against terrorism.
India’s comments were seen as a response to Turkey’s statements on Jammu and Kashmir. Erdogan had urged India to hold talks with Pakistan following the Modi government’s decision to scrap provisions of Article 370 that granted the state special status. India has maintained that J&K is an internal matter.