Egypt recalls ambassador to Syria

Egypt decided on Sunday to recall its ambassador to Syria, the foreign ministry announced, as Arab states pile pressure on Damascus over its crackdown on dissent that has left thousands dead.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr recalled the Egyptian ambassador to Damascus "and it was decided that the ambassador will remain in Cairo until further notice," ministry spokesperson Amr Rushdi said in a statement.

The move follows the withdrawal by several Arab and European countries of their envoys from Damascus as the authorities continue their brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Amr had on Wednesday said that Cairo wants to see "a real and peaceful change in Syria," starting with an immediate end to violence and with the "government responding to the aspirations of the Syrian people."

He said this was necessary to "prevent an overall explosion in the situation, which would have consequences for the stability of the region."

Rights groups say more than 6,000 people have been killed since regime forces began cracking down on pro-democracy protests launched 11 months ago.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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