April 26, 2011
The State Department is telling American citizens to leave Syria as soon as they can and is ordering personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to leave the country, as the Syrian government steps up a brutal crackdown against pro-reform demonstrators.
The department late Monday urged Americans to defer all travel to Syria and advised those already in the country to get out while commercial transportation is still available. It also ordered some nonessential U.S. embassy staff and the families of all embassy personnel to leave Syria.
Officials said the embassy would remain open for limited services.
The move came as thousands of Syrian soldiers backed by tanks and snipers moved in to the southern city of Daraa and opened fire on civilians, killing at least 11 people, witnesses said.