The U.S. has issued warnings to its citizens traveling to Lebanon and Turkey due to concerns over possible violence in those countries. The State Department has also authorized its nonessential employees to leave both nations because of potential threats against U.S. facilities.
The U.S. says the steps are being taken out of an abundance of caution. The warnings were issued as the Obama administration and U.S. Congress consider possible military strikes on Syria.
A statement recommends Americans defer travel to the southeastern part of Turkey, which borders Syria. It also says there is an increased possibility of attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon, where extremist groups such as Hezbollah operate.
Non-emergency American personnel and their families were ordered to leave Lebanon's capital, Beirut, and those remaining were advised to limit travel within the country.
The State Department said it would continue to assess the situation and could make further adjustments to the security status.
The U.S. is considering military action against Syria in retaliation for the Syrian government's suspected use of chemical weapons near Damascus.