Switzerland shuts embassy in Damascus
ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government said on Thursday it had formally closed its embassy in Damascus, three weeks after shutting it temporarily, after urging Swiss citizens to leave the country and recalling its ambassador last August for consultations.
Switzerland announced the closure as the U.N.-Arab League Syria envoy, Kofi Annan, prepared to visit Damascus to ask President Bashar al-Assad to engage with efforts to end the mounting turmoil in his country.
In November Switzerland urged the roughly 180 Swiss citizens living in Syria to leave the country at once. Late on Wednesday, it said about 150 of them remain there, mostly people with dual citizenship living in Damascus.
What began nearly a year ago as peaceful protests against Assad's rule has, after months of forceful repression, turned into an armed insurrection by army deserters who refused to fire on unarmed fellow Syrians.
Elite government troops pounded a rebel bastion in the city of Homs on Thursday, stepping up their offensive after more than three weeks of siege and bombardment, activists said.
A senior official in the rebel Free Syrian Army told Reuters rebels in the Baba Amro district of Homs were fending off more than 7,000 government troops.
(Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by Tim Pearce)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Missing jet may have strayed toward Andaman Sea - Malaysian air force
- Malaysia seeks India's help in search for missing airliner
- "Small, encouraging signs" in Michael Schumacher's condition - agent
- UPDATE 3-Energy XXI to buy rival to take on private explorers in US Gulf
- Coastguards from Andaman and Nicobar islands join lost Malaysian jet search
MISSING MALAYSIAN PLANE
Malaysia's military has traced what could have been the jetliner missing for almost five days to an area near India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, hundreds of miles from its last known position, the country's air force chief said on Wednesday. Full Article
Court rules against gag on "frank" letters from UK's Prince Charles. Full Article