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U.S. closes embassy in Syria, senior State Department officials say

From CNN:

The U.S. State Department shuttered its embassy in Syria and pulled out its remaining staff Monday after the government refused to address its security concerns, senior State Department officials tell CNN.

The officials said 17 employees, including Ambassador Robert Ford, left the country. Two employees flew out of the Syria last week by commercial air, with the rest of them, including Ford, traveling by convoy Monday morning to Jordan. Most of the staff were evacuated earlier in the year, and the diplomatic team was further reduced in December.

The Syrians were notified about the decision to pull the staff and shutter the embassy after the employees were out of the country, the officials said.

The officials said the deterioration of the situation in the country made it impossible for the embassy to continue operations and for the staff to remain.