An elderly Syrian man and a child walk amidst debris in a residential block reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter on March 18, 2014 in Aleppo. AFP PHOTO/BARAA AL-HALABI
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The United States on Tuesday closed down Syria's embassy to Washington and ordered its remaining diplomatic staff to leave the country if they were not US citizens.The Syrian embassy in the US capital had been operating for some time without an ambassador, who left the US in December 2011, leaving only a few low level staff who had been providing limited consular services.US special envoy to Syria Daniel Rubinstein insisted however that "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. Washington also said Syrian diplomats at the embassy, who were not US citizens or permanent residents, were no longer allowed to work in the United States and must leave the country by March 31 .
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