Turkey closes its embassy in Damascus, recalls ambassador to Syria over security fears

Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey says it is closing its embassy in Damascus and recalling its ambassador to Syria because of the security situation in the country.

A brief statement posted on the embassy's website late Sunday says, however, that the Turkey's consulate in Aleppo will remain open.

A ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with ministry regulations said Monday the embassy was being closed due to the security situation in Syria. The Turkish ambassador and other diplomats would be returning to Turkey.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently said that Turkey was on a brink of breaking diplomatic ties with Syria and withdrawing its ambassador.

The U.N. says more than 8,000 people have been killed since Syria's President Bashar Assad launched a crackdown on the opposition a year ago.