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Qatari ambassador closes embassy, leaves Damascus

Qatar's ambassador to Syria, Zayed al-Khayarine, has left Damascus and the embassy has suspended its operations, a Qatari official said Monday as a popular revolt against President Bashar al-Assad continued to sweep through Syrian cities.

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AP - Qatar's ambassador to Damascus, Zayed al-Khayarine, has quit Syria and the embassy has suspended its work, an official from the Qatari delegation told AFP on Monday.

"The diplomats have left Syria and work has been suspended until further notice," the official said, declining to be identified.

He refused to specify the date of the ambassador's departure nor his reasons for leaving.

Qatar had long enjoyed cordial relations with Damascus but recently Al-Jazeera, the Doha-based pan-Arab satellite news channel, has come under strong criticism by the Syrian authorities for its coverage of the popular revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime that erupted in mid-March.

Damascus deems Al-Jazeera to be exaggerating the protest movement.

In late April nearly 100 people gathered outside Al-Jazeera's Damascus offices, accusing the channel of "lies" and of "exaggeration" in its coverage of the protests.

Official Syrian media regularly accuse foreign news services of using fabricated images and of not verifying their sources in their coverage of the uprising.

 

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