News / Middle East

US Considers Closing Embassy in Syria

A Syrian security man stands guard in front of the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria, July 12 2011. (file photo)
A Syrian security man stands guard in front of the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria, July 12 2011. (file photo)

The United States is warning that it may close its embassy in the Syrian capital due to the worsening security situation.

The State Department issued a statement Friday saying that no decision has been made yet, but that a request has been made to Damascus to take concrete steps in the coming days to provide additional security measures.  

The White House again called on President Bashar al-Assad to halt the 10-month old crackdown on protesters and step down, saying his end is inevitable. Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in Washington that the Syrian president's hold on power is slipping.

In Egypt, Arab League officials said the group is likely to extend the mandate of their monitors in Syria, which expired Thursday. Arab leaders are set to meet Sunday to review a report on the situation by the team's Sudanese chief and to decide whether to keep the team of about 165 observers in Syria for another month.

Syrian opposition leaders called on the Arab League to seek foreign intervention because the observer mission has failed to tame violence in Syria.

Syrian rights groups have criticized the observers' effectiveness, saying the Assad government has deceived the team and escalated deadly attacks on the opposition since the observers began work on December 26.

Protesters came out in several Syrian cities Friday after prayers calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.  

"We call on the Arab community and the international community to cancel the Arab League's observer mission and to issue a resolution from the United Nations condemning Bashar Assad's regime," said Syrian protester Mohammad Etri.

Activists say security forces loyal to Assad were out in force. Syrian activist Rami Abdul-Rahman told VOA at least 4 people were killed - three civilians and one member of the security forces.

Qatar's ruling emir has called for Arab troops to be deployed in Syria to stop the government crackdown. Syria has rejected the idea.

The United Nations says violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. Syria says "terrorists" have killed about 2,000 members of the security forces since the unrest began.

On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy maintained France's non-interference stance on Syria, but said his government would not stand by as the bloodshed continues.

"We don't want to interfere in Syrian affairs. And no one more than myself has tried with sincerity to reach out to Bashar Al-Assad [Syrian leader]. But at some stage, everyone has to face the reality. And France will not remain silent in front of the Syrian scandal," said Sarkozy.

Russia and China repeatedly have refused to vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria, proposed by Western nations.  Moscow, a longtime Damascus ally, refuses to place sanctions on Syria and insists the opposition is partly to blame.

<p><span class="article11"><i><span style="font-size: 7pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;&quot;;">Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.</span></i></span></p>





Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid