U.S. withdraws staff from Syrian embassy

Syrians have protested in Damascus' main square. Syrians have protested in Damascus' main square. Muzaffar Salman/AP

The State Department on Monday pulled out its remaining staff from the U.S. embassy in Syria, following reports last week that the closing was likely unless President Bashar al-Assad promised further protection for American diplomats.

"Ambassador Ford has left Damascus but he remains the United States Ambassador to Syria and its people," a State Department spokeswoman said in a statement. "As the President’s representative, he will continue his work and engagement with the Syrian people as head of our Syria team in Washington. Together with other senior U.S. officials, Ambassador Ford will maintain contacts with the Syrian opposition and continue our efforts to support the peaceful political transition which the Syrian people have so bravely sought."

Before the closing, a State Department official had told National Journal that the rapidly deteriorating security situation across Syria “demonstrates further that Assad is losing control of the country and reinforces our point that Assad has lost all legitimacy.”

Ford, had largely remained in the country during the months of violent clashes between protesters and Syria's military and security forces—despite attacks on him and the embassy itself carried out by Assad’s supporters. As journalists encountered difficulties entering Syria, Ford became a visible face and often lone voice tweeting from inside the country about the crisis. Ford was temporarily recalled to Washington in late October for consultations, as the U.S. accused Syrian state-run media of inciting violence against the diplomat.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.