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Egypt pulls its ambassador to Syria

Egypt, Syria recall ambassadors in tit-for-tat move as international pressure grows on Assad.

Egypt pulls its ambassador to SyriaEnlarge
Syrians demonstrate against the regime after Friday prayers in the north Syrian city of Idlib on Friday. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's state media today announced that its ambassador to Syria has been recalled, Reuters reported, a move that further isolates Syria's hardline President Bashar al-Assad following last week's UN General Assembly resolution condemning widespread government-led violence against civilians there. 

Syrian officials have not officially commented, but according to Reuters, Egypt's foreign ministry said Damascus has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Cairo.

BBC said no reason had been given for the move, but Egypt's Alharm Online reported on Saturday that Egyptian officials promised they would recall their Syrian ambassador in response to demands by a large group of protesters camped outside the Syrian embassy in Cairo. 

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr on Wednesday called for an immediate halt to bloodshed in Syria, where an 11-month uprising against the government is believed to have taken the lives of at least 5,000 Syrians.

Amr said it was imperative that Assad respond  "to the aspirations of the Syrian people" in order to  "prevent an overall explosion in the situation, which would have consequences for the stability of the region," the BBC reported

Violence spiked in Syria over the weekend, with government forces firing into a Damascus crowd on Saturday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120219/egypt-pulls-its-ambassador-syria-amid-spike-violence