Singapore 'deeply concerned' about rising tensions in the Middle East: MFA

Singapore 'deeply concerned' about rising tensions in the Middle East: MFA

A protester waves the national flag while demonstrators set fire to streets near Tahrir Square
A protester waves the national flag near Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq on Jan 8, 2020. (Photo: AP/Khalid Mohammed)

SINGAPORE: Singapore said on Wednesday (Jan 8) it was "deeply concerned" about rising tensions in the Middle East and advised citizens not to remain in or travel to Iraq and Iran due to the "volatile security situation". 

The comments and travel advisory by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs came days after the US killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, followed by retaliatory missile attacks by Iran on military bases in Iraq occupied by foreign troops. 

"Singapore is deeply concerned about rising tensions in the Middle East and is monitoring the situation closely. 

"There is an urgent need for all parties to exercise maximum restraint and de-escalate tensions and return to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve their differences," said an MFA spokesperson in an email responding to media queries. 

READ: Iran and the US - Months of escalating tensions

Last week, General Soleimani - one of the most popular figures in Iran and seen as a deadly adversary by America and its allies - was killed in a US strike on Baghdad airport ordered by US President Donald Trump

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at US bases in Iraq in retaliation, and called the attack a "slap in the face" for the US.

Wednesday's incident sparked fears of a greater conflict in the Middle East, sending oil prices spiking and countries ordering their citizens to leave the region.

READ: Philippines orders citizens in Iraq to leave after Iran attacks US forces

READ: India and Pakistan caution on travel to Iraq after Iran attacks

"In view of the volatile security situation, particularly in Iraq and Iran, Singaporeans are strongly advised against travelling to or remaining in these two countries," said MFA. 

"Singapore has no diplomatic representation in Iraq and Iran, which constrains our ability to extend consular assistance in an emergency."

The ministry advised those who are intending to travel or are already in the Middle East to eRegister, monitor the local news and heed the advice of the local authorities.

Singaporeans who need consular assistance can contact MFA at:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office (24 hours)

Tanglin, Singapore 248163

Tel: +65 6379 8800/ 8855

Source: CNA/ec(hs)