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U.S. considering closing embassy in Syria

American embassy in Damascus, Syria,
Syrians take pictures of the damaged American embassy in Damascus, Syria on July 11, 2011. AP Photo

The U.S. is considering closing its embassy in Damascus, but no final decision has been made yet.

The U.S. Department of State issued a statement Friday evening saying they were considering the closure of the Damascus embassy. Issues regarding the deteriorating security situation and the safety of embassy personnel amid the brutal crackdown against against anti-government protesters, now in its 11th month, were among the top reasons.

"While no decision has been made, we have serious concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Damascus, including the recent spate of car bombs, and about the safety and security of embassy personnel," it said.

"We have requested that the government of Syria take additional security measures to protect our embassy, and the Syrian government is considering that request," the statement continued. "We have also advised the Syrian government that unless concrete steps are taken in the coming days we may have no choice but to close the mission."

A State Department official added to CBS News they did not expect the decision to come today.

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Anti-government protests continue in Syria, as thousands of people hold marches calling for a change in regime. An estimated 5,400 people have died in the past 10 months.

The Arab League sent human rights monitors to Syria last month, but the mission has been widely derided as toothless and ineffective in quelling the ongoing violence. The League's mandate has expired, but it is mulling extending the mission.

Syria is rejecting any notion of Arab troops helping end the bloodshed, and Russia said they would block any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force on Wednesday.

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