The United States and Syria this week engaged in a diplomatic showdown that resulted in Washington and Damascus recalling their ambassadors, as tensions increased over Syria's bloody assault on unarmed demonstrators.
The Obama administration pulled its ambassador out of Syria over security concerns, blaming President Bashar Assad's regime for the threats that made it no longer safe for Robert Ford to remain. The Syrian government quickly ordered home its envoy to the United States, raising the diplomatic stakes.
Inspired by the scenes of euphoria in Libya, Syrian protesters poured into the streets Friday and shouted that President Bashar Assad's regime will be the next to unravel now that ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is dead.
The Arab League debated for hours Sunday on whether to suspend Syria's membership over the bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters, but deep divisions among the 22 nations suggested the proposal will not pass.
The U.S. ambassador in Syria is warning that the widespread peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad could erupt into civil war, while the Syrian Embassy in Washington is howling over charges it is intimidating Syrian dissidents in the United States.
Syrian security forces trying to suppress the resilient anti-government uprising killed five people Saturday, including one person who was attending a funeral procession for a teenager shot dead in protests a day earlier, activists said.
Syrian security forces opened fire Friday on protesters calling for the overthrow of President Bashar Assad, killing at least seven, activists said.
The Justice Department has charged a Syrian-born U.S. citizen with spying on Americans demonstrating against Syria's Assad regime and passing that information on to Syria intelligence officers to intimidate the protesters.
A Syrian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen has been indicted on charges of spying on U.S. activists opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and providing intelligence to that country's intelligence agents.