Due to a recent surge in violence in Syria, the Administration of Barack Obama decided on Monday to remove U.S. diplomats from the country.
The State Department had requested that Syrian President Bashar Assad provide additional security at the American embassy, but the requests were not granted. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, will continue to work with the troubled country from an office in Washington, D.C., though the focus will be on working with opposition in the country to ensure a political transition.
A White House press release on Saturday denounced Assad’s recent surge of violence against Syrian dissidents:
We must work with the Syrian people toward building a brighter future for Syria. A Syria without Assad could be a Syria in which all Syrians are subject to the rule of law and where minorities are able to exercise their legitimate rights and uphold their identities and traditions while acting as fully enfranchised citizens in a unified republic. The United States and our international partners support the Syrian people in achieving their aspirations and will continue to assist the Syrian people toward that goal. We will help because we stand for principles that include universal rights for all people and just political and economic reform. The suffering citizens of Syria must know: we are with you, and the Assad regime must come to an end.
The decision to close the Syrian embassy comes two days after Russia and China vetoed a U.N. resolution condemning Syria’s crackdown on protesters. Many people say the country is on the verge of a violent civil war.