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US shuts Syrian embassy in Washington
March 19, 2014, 1:32 am


The US blames the Assad government for the devastation that has befallen Syria [Xinhua]

The US blames the Assad government for the devastation that has befallen Syria [Xinhua]

The United States shut the Syrian embassy in Washington and affiliated consulates on Tuesday and ordered all staff to leave the country, but stopped short of severing diplomatic relations with the Damascus government.

“We have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that [government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad] regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” said Daniel Rubinstein, the US special envoy to Syria a day after he assumed the new post.

The US has blamed the Assad government for the Syrian Civil War.

“This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Syrian revolution. For three years, Bashar al-Assad has refused to heed the call of the Syrian people to step aside. He has directed a war against his own people and created a humanitarian catastrophe in order to hold on to power and protect his narrow interests,” Rubenstein said in a statement.

Syria, on the other hand, has blamed Western-backed opposition groups – including an array of Islamist extremist militias funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar – for the violence that has swept the country.

Russia last month called for the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution on anti-terrorism in Syria.

“We are alarmed by changes in some of our Western partners’ approaches to the issue of terrorism as such they actually try to justify terrorists and to formulate ultimatums in favour of the supporters of terrorism,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the time.

Damascus had announced on March 10 that it would suspend its consular services in the US.

Meanwhile, Israeli artillery fired into Syrian territory on Tuesday after a roadside bomb exploded in the Golan Heights injuring four Israeli soldiers.

Source: Agencies