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UK Withdraws Embassy Staff from Syria

Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced that all diplomatic staff have been withdrawn from Damascus, and embassy services suspended. In a statement to Parliament the Foreign Secretary said:

"We now judge that the deterioration of the security situation in Damascus puts our Embassy staff and premises at risk, and have taken the decision to withdraw staff accordingly. Our Ambassador and diplomatic staff left Syria on 29 February and will return to the UK shortly."

British nationals who remain in Syria should contact the embassy of any remaining EU country if they require consular assistance, he said.

The UK will continue to work closely with other nations to coordinate diplomatic and economic pressure on the Syrian regime through the Friends of Syria group and the European Union, building on the new EU sanctions agreed on 27 February which will restrict further the regime’s sources of revenue, he said

Earlier this week, the EU recognised the Syrian National Council and slapped more sanctions on Assad's government amid a deadly bombardment of Homs and the deaths and injuries of foreign journalist as the country slips inexorably into civil war.

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