Switzerland shuts embassy in Damascus

ZURICH Thu Mar 1, 2012 2:17pm IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   

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)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Ferry Tragedy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Deadly gun attack in eastern Ukraine shakes fragile Geneva accord.  Full Article 

Everest Avalanche

Everest Avalanche

Search ends for missing on Everest, some Sherpas call for shutdown.  Full Article 

Ferry Tragedy

Ferry Tragedy

Prosecutors extend Korea ferry captain's detention as death toll mounts.  Full Article 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Pope presides at Vatican Mass leading Catholics into Easter.  Full Article 

Twitter Blockade

Twitter Blockade

Turkey Twitter accounts appear blocked after Erdogan court action.  Full Article 

Egypt Election

Egypt Election

Former army chief, leftist are only candidates in Egypt presidential poll.  Full Article 

Journalists Freed

Journalists Freed

Joyful homecoming for 4 French journalists after Syria captivity.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage