France recalls ambassador to Syria after attacks
France has recalled its ambassador to Syria, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Wednesday, after its diplomatic missions there were attacked amid ongoing protests against Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"There has been renewed violence in Syria, which has led me to close our consular offices in Aleppo and in Latakia, as well as our cultural institutes and to recall our ambassador to Paris," Juppe told parliament.
Pro-Assad mobs attacked France's honorary consulate in the northern city of Latakia and the detached chancery in Aleppo on Saturday, sparking French condemnation and the summoning of Syria's ambassador to Paris.
The Syrian government on Tuesday pledged there would be no repeat of attacks on embassies after a spate of recent assaults against countries deemed to be against Assad's beleaguered regime.
"We're working at the (UN) General Assembly with the Arab League to get a draft resolution adopted," Juppe said.
On Tuesday, the UN Security Council condemned the recent spate of attacks on diplomatic missions in Syria.
Protesters stormed the Jordanian embassy compound on Monday after King Abdullah II became the first Arab leader to say openly that he thought Assad should step down.
It was the latest such protest by angry Assad loyalists against embassies since the Arab League voted on Saturday to suspend Syria from the pan-Arab bloc and impose sanctions.
Other missions targeted have included those of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, all outspoken critics of the Assad regime's eight-month crackdown on dissent that the United Nations says has cost more then 3,500 lives.
US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, abruptly withdrawn last month because of security threats, is supposed to return to Syria in "days to weeks," Washington has said.
The Arab League was meeting in Rabat on Wednesday, along with Turkey, to try to agree action to stem the bloodshed in Syria.
© 2011 AFP