US suspends operations of Syrian embassy in Washington

Washington, March 19: The Syrian government has been told to immediately suspend its embassy in Washington and consulates in the US, an official said Tuesday.

The US also ordered Syrian diplomats at the embassy and consulates who are not legal US residents to leave the country, Xinhua quoted Daniel Rubinstein, US Special Envoy for Syria, as saying in a statement.

The decision, three years after the start of the Syrian crisis, came in response to Syria’s move to suspend consular services for Syrians in the US.

“We have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” Rubinstein said.

The US continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Syria “as an expression of our long-standing ties with the Syrian people ,” the US envoy said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday named Rubinstein, a senior Middle East expert, as the new US Special Envoy for Syria.

Rubinstein will travel to the Middle East later this month to begin consultations with Syrians and others seeking an end to the Syrian crisis.