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US Preparing to Close Embassy in Syria

The Washington Post
20th January 2012

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The Obama administration is preparing to close the U.S. embassy in Damascus and evacuate all American personnel by the end of this month amid rapid deterioration of the security situation in Syria, senior administration officials said.

The embassy will be shuttered, officials said, unless embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad provides enhanced protection that he has so far been unwilling to authorize. “Unless we see that, we have no choice,” said one U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about internal planning on the Syrian crisis.

The move follows a recent spate of car bombings. Although the administration has not ruled out Syrian government responsibility for the attacks, officials said signs point to Syrian and Iraqi militants that have been affiliated with al-Qaeda.

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