The United States on Tuesday officially told Syria to suspend its embassy operations in Washington and ordered its diplomats to leave the country if they were not US citizens.
Washington also notified Damascus that it would no longer be able to operate its two consulates in Troy, Michigan, and Houston, Texas, after the embassy said that it would no longer be providing any consular services.
A message from the new US special envoy to Syria, Daniel Rubinstein, said Washington had "determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by" the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States."
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The Syrian embassy in the US capital had been operating for some time without an ambassador and with only a few low level staff who had been providing limited consular services.
Rubinstein insisted however that "despite the differences between our governments, 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. "
A message on the embassy website Tuesday said: "Please Note that Embassy of Syria would not be able to proceed any consular services starting Tuesday March 18, 2014. Thank you for understanding."
Washington also said Syrian diplomats at the embassy who were not US citizens or permanent residents were no longer allowed to work in the United States and must leave the country.
The statement did not address the issue of the Syrian mission to the United Nations based in New York.