Egypt breaks diplomatic relations with Syria

Cairo, Jun 16 (EFE).- Egypt has decided to break diplomatic ties with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, President Mohammed Mursi said on the weekend.

The Cairo government decided to close the Syrian Embassy in Egypt and ordered the withdrawal of the Egyptian charge d'affaires in Damascus, Mursi said in a press conference Saturday night in Cairo in support of the Syrian opposition forces.

The Egyptian president also urged the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria, something that the opposition has demanded to ensure protection from Syrian air attacks.

The Syrian conflict is "a tragedy never before seen in the region" in which "regional and international powers are involved," Mursi said.

The Syrian government called Mursi's move "irresponsible" on Sunday.

"Mursi has joined the conspiracy led by the United States and Israel against Syria, after the great achievements of the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism," a Syrian government spokesman said in a statement.

Egypt's decision was taken to implement "the radical fatwas (Islamic edicts) calling for jihad in Syria, instead of setting course toward the liberation of the usurped Palestinian lands," the Syrian government said.

More than 500 Sunni ulamas (Islamic legal scholars) gathered in Cairo last week called for jihad against the Syrian regime and branded the interference of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria as "a declaration of war against Islam."