The State Department announced February 6 that the U.S. is closing its embassy in Syria and calling Ambassador Robert Ford and embassy personnel home. An earlier wave of embassy personnel left in January after bombings in Damascus -- Syria's capital and the home of the embassy -- in January and December 2011.
The violence is an extension of protests against the repressive regime of President Bashar Al-Assad that began nearly a year ago during "Arab Spring." Al-Assad has repeated unleashed Syrian troops to violent crack down on protesters.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a press release that the United States had expressed concern about Syria's ability to protect the embassy in January in the wake of renewed violence.
The move does not mean that the U.S. has severed diplomatic relations with Syria. Ford will remain the ambassador, and the U.S. will conduct business through the Polish Embassy, according to the Washington Post.
The embassy closure comes just days after Russia and China vetoed a UN vote on an Arab League plan to end the Syrian violence by having Al-Assad hand over power to his vice-president. It also indicated that U.S. believes more violence is eminent with Al-Assad thus buoyed by the Sino-Russian veto.