State Dept Suspends US Embassy Operations in #Syria

The State Department suspended all embassy operations in Syria today.  Below is the official presser:

The United States has suspended operations of our Embassy in Damascus as of February 6. Ambassador Ford and all American personnel have now departed the country.

The recent surge in violence, including bombings in Damascus on December 23 and January 6, has raised serious concerns that our Embassy is not sufficiently protected from armed attack. We, along with several other diplomatic missions, conveyed our security concerns to the Syrian government but the regime failed to respond adequately.

Ambassador Ford has left Damascus but he remains the United States Ambassador to Syria and its people. As the President’s representative, he will continue his work and engagement with the Syrian people as head of our Syria team in Washington. Together with other senior U.S. officials, Ambassador Ford will maintain contacts with the Syrian opposition and continue our efforts to support the peaceful political transition which the Syrian people have so bravely sought.

As the Secretary told the Security Council on January 31, we continue to be gravely concerned by the escalation of violence in Syria caused by the regime’s blatant defiance of its commitments to the action plan it agreed to with the Arab League. The deteriorating security situation that led to the suspension of our diplomatic operations makes clear once more the dangerous path Assad has chosen and the regime’s inability to fully control Syria. It also underscores the urgent need for the international community to act without delay to support the Arab League’s transition plan before the regime’s escalating violence puts a political solution out of reach and further jeopardizes regional peace and security.

The embassy’s February 6 Warden Message to US citizens says that “all official U.S. embassy personnel and their family members have departed.”  [WaPo is reporting that the evacuees include Ambassador Ford and 16 other employees].  It also indicates that the Polish government, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, will now serve as protecting power for U.S. interests in Syria.  For emergency assistance, U.S. citizens should now contact the U.S. Interests Section by telephone at 963 954 666 693 or by  e-mail at


Inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Syria may also be directed to  Callers in the United States and Canada may dial the toll free number 1-888-407-4747.  Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444. Note that neither U.S. passports nor visas to the United States are issued in Damascus.

Read the full message here.




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2 responses

  1. There’s a small photo in the URL box (sorry that I don’t know what it’s called – a favicon?) that might be you. If so, you might want to cover your tracks. In the spirit of anonymity and hence more openness. Huzzah!