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US Condemns Burning of Embassy Buildings in Syria

The United States says it "condemns in the strongest terms" attacks on foreign embassies in Syria, calling it "inexcusable" that Damascus failed to protect them despite warnings of violence.

A White House statement Saturday said "such violent demonstrations do not take place in that country without government knowledge and support" as it urged all governments to take steps now to lower tensions.

Europe has been a target of outrage in the Muslim world after several newspapers there published a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Denmark, where the cartoon originated, has apologized for offending Muslims, while defending the papers' rights to free speech.

Thousands of Syrian demonstrators Saturday torched a building shared by Chile, Denmark, and Sweden before moving to the nearby Norwegian Embassy. Syrian police used water cannon and tear gas to keeps crowds away from the French Embassy.

Sweden is lodging a formal complaint with Syria, while Norway and Denmark have urged their citizens to leave.