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Malaysians to be evacuated from Syria

July 24, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia –Malaysia will shut its embassy in Damascus and evacuate its nationals from Syria in response to the worsening security situation there, the Bernama news agency reported Saturday (July 21st).

"In this regard, I feel our embassy in Syria ought to be closed immediately following the latest developments there," Bernama quoted Prime Minister Najib Razak as saying.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman sought Najib's approval to evacuate Malaysians from Syria as violence escalated there. There are about 140 Malaysians in Syria, mainly students, expatriates and five diplomats including the ambassador, who is to return home, according to AFP.

Heavy clashes raged between Syrian troops and rebels on Saturday, with at least 90 people killed nationwide amid a surge in fighting between the army and anti-government rebels.

More than 17,000 people have died since the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year, according to Red Cross officials.

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