Feb. 6 - The U.S. closed its embassy in Damascus as the U.K. called Syria's president the head of a ''murdering regime.'' Deborah Gembara reports.
Many western countries are scrambling to craft a new Syria strategy after UN resolution calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down was vetoed over the weekend. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice: SOUNDBITE: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice saying: "The fact that Russia and China chose to align themselves with a dictator who is on his last legs rather than the people of Syria, rather than the people of the Middle East, rather than the principled views of the rest of the international community, was indeed disgusting and shameful and I think that over time it is a decision they'll come to regret when there is a democratic Syria that won't forget this action." The U.S. announced it is closing its embassy in Damascus while the UK has recalled its ambassador. Addressing the House of Commons, British Foreign Secretary William Hague vowed to put pressure on Syria through sanctions. SOUNDBITE) (English) WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, SAYING: "This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. There is no way it can recover its credibility internationally or with its own people." In Washington, a Syrian embassy attache had this to say about the diplomatic drawdown. SOUNDBITE: Roua Shurbaji, attaché, Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic Saying: "I can tell you we've worked to spare no effort to ensure the protection and the safety and security of all the diplomatic premises and personnel in Damascus." She also dismissed comments suggesting Syria is on the verge of civil war, insisting that foreign intervention is not necessary. SOUNDBITE: Roua Shurbaji, attaché, Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic Saying: "When any other country is trying to decide for Syria how to move forward, the vast majority of people don't feel comfortable with this. They know how to move forward with their country and they can work on this inside Syria." Video posted to a social media website which Reuters cannot independently verify purportedly shows people injured during a government crackdown in Homs. Damascus has denied firing into apartment buildings and dismissed opposition group claims that 50 people were killed in Homs on Monday. Deborah Gembara.