The U.S. Department of State announced Tuesday that it has ordered Syria to close its embassy in Washington and its consulates in Michigan and Texas.
Those serving in such posts who do not have U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency status were ordered to depart the U.S.
Newly appointed U.S. Special Envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein explained the administration's decision to shutter the Syrian mission to the U.S.:
"Following the announcement that the Syrian Embassy has suspended its provision of consular services, and in consideration of the atrocities the Assad regime has committed against the Syrian people, we have determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States."
The embassy and honorary consulates were ordered to "immediately suspend operations."
"Despite the differences between our governments," Rubinstein said, "the United States continues to maintain diplomatic relations with the state of Syria as an expression of our longstanding ties with the Syrian people, an interest that will endure long after Bashar al-Assad leaves power." And the U.S., he added, "will continue to assist those seeking change in Syria, to help end the slaughter, and to resolve the crisis through negotiations -- for the benefit of the Syrian people."