Taiwan won’t take part in Olympic qualifiers in Syria over security fears
TAIPEI– Taiwan’s basketball association said on Wednesday it would not take part in qualifying matches for the Olympics to be held in Syria due to security concerns.
In a statement, the association said it was “impossible to overcome” security concerns about host city Damascus, especially as the team would have to get there via land from neighboring countries.
“Based on the priority given to the safety of the team members, it is determined not to participate in this competition,” it said.
Taiwan, which competes at the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei” to avoid political problems with China which views the island as its own territory, has never won any Olympic medals for basketball.
The qualifying basketball competition is being held in Syria from Aug. 12-20.
A violent crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to a civil war, with Moscow backing Assad and Washington supporting the opposition.
Millions of people fled Syria with millions more internally displaced. Fighting has since abated with Assad back in control of most of Syria.