Three years since the start of the bloody civil war in Syria that has killed more than 140,000 people and resulted in more than 2.5 million refugees, with this week marking the anniversary of the Syrian revolution, the United States notified the Syrian government today that it must immediately suspend operations of its Embassy in Washington, D.C. and its honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan, and Houston, Texas. Syrian diplomats at the embassy and Syrian honorary consulates are no longer permitted to perform diplomatic or consular functions, and those who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents must depart the United States.
Check out a timeline and backgrounder of Syria’s history leading up to the revolution: Syria Profile
According to the State Department, this is a result of a decision made by the Syrian government to suspend its consular services provided by the Syrian embassy in Washington, as well as taking into account the atrocities that the Assad regime has committed against the Syrian people.
Current initiatives to ease the crisis have either faded into the background of other international affairs or have failed entirely, and the likelihood for an internationally brokered peace agreement has been further stalled as American-Russian relations have worsened over the Ukraine crisis.
In a statement made by Special Envoy for Syria, Daniel Rubinstein, he reassured that the United States has not forgotten the Syrian people.
“Despite the differences between our governments, the United States continues to maintain diplomatic relations with the state of Syria as an expression of our longstanding ties with the Syrian people, an interest that will endure long after Bashar al-Assad leaves power. The United States will continue to assist those seeking change in Syria, to help end the slaughter, and to resolve the crisis through negotiations – for the benefit of the Syrian people.”
Over the course of four months, the American Security Project supported Caerus Associates and First Mile Geo in what may be the highest fidelity, time series analysis yet of the ongoing human tragedy unfolding inside of Syria.
Check out ASP’s report here: Mapping the Conflict in Aleppo, Syria
Nathan Daniels is a Research Assistant & Intern at the American Security Project