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US Embassy in Syria could close amid violence

State Department says it "may have no choice" but to close Damascus mission.

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Syrian anti-regime demonstrators wave the former Syrian flags today in the Khalidiya neighborhood, said to be under the control of the Free Syrian Army, in the flashpoint city of Homs. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The US State Department said it "may have no choice" but to close the US embassy in Syria and remove all American personnel from the country amid continued violence in Syria.

Washington said the US will leave unless President Bashar al-Assad's government takes extra steps to protect the mission, the Associated Press reported.

The department issued a statement which said the Obama administration has "serious concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Damascus, including the recent spate of car bombs and about the safety and security of embassy personnel."

Officials say the bombings could be the work of the Syrian government but appeared to have been done by Syrian and Iraqi militants linked to al-Qaeda, according to The Washington Post.

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A US official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to reveal internal planning, was quoted as saying: "Each day that Assad clings to power, demonstrates further that Assad is losing control of the country and reinforces our point that Assad has lost all legitimacy."

According to Voice of America News, Syrian activist Rami Abdul-Rahman claimed at least four people were killed in nationwide violence today.

Reuters reported that today's death toll was at least six.

Syrian activists are continuing their pressure on the Arab league to seek foreign intervention, claiming that an observer mission has failed to end the violence, according to VOA.

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Arab leaders are to convene in Cairo on Sunday to review a report by the observer mission.

Human Rights Watch called today for the report to be made public by the Arab League.

The League is to decide in two days whether to extend this mission and one person at its headquarters in Cairo told Reuters it the inter-governmental body was considering doing so despite its failure to halt the violence.

The uprising began a year ago.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120120/us-embassy-syria-set-close-amid-continuing-violence-0