CAIRO: Egypt recalled its ambassador to Damascus, state television said on Sunday, in what appeared to be the latest step in a series of Arab diplomatic moves to intensify pressure on President Bashar Al-Assad, who is trying to crush a popular uprising in Syria.
State news agency MENA said the decision was made after a visit from Egypt’s ambassador Shawky Ismail to Cairo. The foreign ministry decided to keep him in the Egyptian capital "until further notice."
The move comes as Arab states pile pressure on Damascus over its crackdown on dissent that has left thousands dead.
AFP reported that Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr recalled the Egyptian ambassador to Damascus, who will stay in Cairo until further notice.
Several Arab and European countries have withdrawn their envoys from Damascus as the authorities continue their brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.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. –Additional reporting by AFP