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Gulf States Close Embassies in Syria

All six Arab Gulf states will close their embassies in Syria in protest of the year-long crackdown on protesters.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/16/2012, 5:16 AM

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Reuters

All six Arab Gulf states will close their embassies in Syria in protest of the year-long crackdown on protesters in the country, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) head Abdullatif al-Zayani announced on Thursday.

AFP reported that al-Zayani said that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait took the step because the Syrian regime is “massacring its people, choosing the military option and rejecting all initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the crisis.”

Al-Zayani asked the international community to “act urgently and decisively to stop the killings and massacres in Syria as well as the gross violations of the dignity and legitimate rights of the Syrians,” according to AFP.

Two GCC countries, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, had announced the closure of their missions in Damascus before this collective decision, the report said.

Saudi Arabia took the step on Wednesday and announced the return of its diplomats from Syria, followed the next day by Bahrain.

Syria's popular uprising entered its second year on Thursday, as the death toll from President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown fast approaches 9,000.

At least 8,500 civilians have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

The United Nations said Wednesday that more than 230,000 Syrians have fled their homes during the bloody year-long crackdown.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees' coordinator for Syria says 30,000 people have already fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.