BAGHDAD, July 17 — The Iraqi government on Tuesday called on all its citizens to leave the violence-shattered country of Syria after the increase of attacks against Iraqis, a government spokesman said.
"Baghdad calls on its citizens living in Syria to return after the increase of killings and attacks against them," Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement posted on the internet after a meeting held by the Iraqi Council of Ministers.
He said the Iraqi government calls on all the conflicting parties in Syria "not to attack the Iraqi citizens" as they are guests living temporarily in Syria.
Earlier in the day, the Iraqi authorities reportedly received a total of 23 bodies of Iraqi citizens, including two journalists, who were killed in Syria during the country's violence.
Syria has been wrecked by bombings and violence against civilians since March 2011, when anti-government protests began. The unrest has claimed the lives of thousands of people, including large numbers of security personnel. (PNA/Xinhua) CTB/mmg