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U.S. orders Syrian embassy closed, diplomats must leave the country

By Kyle Johnson,

The U.S. told the Syrian embassy to shutter and cease consular operations on Tuesday and that all Syrian diplomats who are not U.S. citizens must immediately the country.

The order came on the third anniversary of Syria's civil war, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Obama administration did not completely halt diplomatic relations with Damascus though.

In a statement, U.S. special envoy to Syria Daniel Rubinstein said the order was given "in consideration of the atrocities the Assad regime has committed against the Syrian people."

Rubinstein added, "We have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by [President Bashar's] regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations" in the country.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the decision to not completely break diplomatic ties came as Obama administration lawyers were worried that such a move could let the Syrian president off the hook for the government's use of chemical weapons.

In the three years since the beginning of the uprising against Assad's government, over 100,000 people have been killed.

image: By Josh Carolina (originally posted to Flickr as Embassy of Syria) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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