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Syrian Security Forces Continue To Shell City Of Homs, Turkey Closes Damascus Embassy

Braden Holly |
March 26, 2012 | 9:18 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

A pre-Baath Syrian Flag. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Picture by FreedomHouse.
A pre-Baath Syrian Flag. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Picture by FreedomHouse.
Turkey has also become the latest nation to close its embassy in Damascus Monday, joining the U.S., France, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar on the list of nations who have severed diplomatic ties with the Syrian capital.

Turkey will, however, maintain their consulate in Aleppo, according to the Associated Press.

Though Turkey and Syria were once allies, recently there has been increasing tension between the nations.

According to the Associated Press:

The Turkish embassy closure comes amid rising diplomatic pressure on Assad. Ankara, once close to Damascus, is now one of Syria's most vocal critics.

The embassy is being closed because of the poor security situation in Syria, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity in line with ministry regulations. The Turkish ambassador and other diplomats will be returning to Turkey, he said.

Syria is not entirely without supporters though.  The embattled nation has been shielded by Russia and China from condemnation by the U.N. Security Council.  Syria is a Russian ally and a major buyer of Russian arms, according to the Associated Press.

Human Rights groups are keeping a careful eye on the situation in Homs.

According to the Associated Press:

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees have been reporting shelling in Homs for days as Assad's forces appear to be preparing for an operation to retake rebel-held neighborhoods in Syria's third largest city. The Observatory said that mortars were fired on the central neighborhood of Warsheh.

The LCC said 19 people were killed in Syria Monday, nine of them in Homs. The Observatory said 10 people were killed Monday, including the five in the Homs shelling.



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