- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Obama administration on Tuesday closed the U.S. Embassy in Syria and pulled all American diplomats out of the country.

The Syrian Embassy in Washington and its consulates in Texas and Michigan have also suspended operations, and diplomats who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents have been told to leave the country, Reuters reported.

“We have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States,” U.S. special envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein said in a statement.

“Consequently, the United States notified the Syrian government today that it must immediately suspend operations of its embassy in Washington, D.C., and its honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan and Houston, Texas,” he said.

The decision comes three years since the start of the bloody civil war in Syria that has killed more than 140,000 people.

The United Nations says Syria President Bashar Assad’s crackdown has killed more than 5,400 people since March, The Associated Press reported. The Obama administration has long demanded that Mr. Assad step down.