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France recalls Syria ambassador

Reuters/Thierry Rog

France has withdrawn its ambassador to Syria, following the weekend’s attacks on its diplomatic missions. Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad stoned the United Arab Emirates embassy on Wednesday.

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"There has been renewed violence in Syria, which has led me to close our consular offices in Aleppo and in Latakia, as well as our cultural institutes and to recall our ambassador to Paris," Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppé told parliament on Wednesday.

Pro-Assad crowds attacked French diplomatic missions in Aleppo and Latakia, as well as those of other countries, on Saturday.

Under pressure from the Arab League, Syrian officials promised Tuesday that there would be no more such incidents but on Wednesday Assad supporters threw stones and other objects at the UAE embassy and daubed the walls with graffiti accusing them of being “agents of Israel”.

US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who was withdrawn last month because of security threats, will return to Syria in "days to weeks", Washington has said.

Juppé is to visit Turkey on Thursday and Friday to discuss the situation in Syria, among other questions, according to the Anatolia news agency.

He is to meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.

Turkey, which was an ally to Assad, has sharply criticised the repression of this year’s protests and announced sanctions against Damascus on Tuesday.

Other points that Juppé will raise include Iran and the Franco-Turkish agreement to combat the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) armed group.

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