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Brazil orders its diplomats to leave Damascus

Brazil said Friday it ordered its diplomats to leave Damascus for Beirut due to the deteriorating security situation in strife-torn Syria.

"The Brazilian government is constantly monitoring the deteriorating security situation in Syria and decided to temporarily transfer diplomats" from the Damascus embassy to the Lebanese capital, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said a closure of the embassy was not being envisaged for now. It did not say how many diplomats were being transferred.

Agency Brasil, the state news agency, estimated that around 3,000 Brazilians lived in Syria before the anti-government revolt escalated but that it had no information on how many have since left the country.

The ministry did not immediately confirm the report.

Friday, Syrian forces launched an all-out assault on opposition strongholds in Damascus, a day after rebels seized crossings on the Iraq and Turkey borders on the deadliest day so far in the 16-month conflict.

Rebel fighters also clashed with troops in several neighborhoods of Aleppo in what a human rights watchdog said was the fiercest fighting so far in Syria's second city.

-AFP

For the latest developments on Syria, follow @NOW_Syria on Twitter or click here.