Turkey Urges Citizens to Leave Syria, Set to Cut Consular Services

Move comes as reports indicate 4 members of the Gulf Cooperation Council will close their embassies in Syria over the ongoing political crisis.

Turkey urged its citizens on Thursday to leave Syria amid a continued crackdown by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has urged its citizens in Syria to return home, saying some consular services will be halted in Damascus next week.

Assad Erdogan- AP- Oct. 11, 2010

The Foreign Ministry says in a statement Friday that developments in Syria have brought about serious security risks for Turkish citizens and they are "strongly urged to come home."

It says consular services at the Turkish embassy in Damascus will be halted at the end of office hours on March 22. However, it says the Turkish consulate in Aleppo will remain open.

The Turkish announcement came after Saudi Press Agency reported late on Thursday that four members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will close their embassies in Syria over its violent crackdown on popular protests against President Bashar Assad.

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani, in a statement, was quoted as saying the move demonstrated a rejection of "the Syrian regime's continuing killing and tormenting of the unarmed Syrian people, its insistence on the military option and ignoring all efforts for a way out of the tragic situation lived by the brotherly Syrian people.”

The closures come after Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced that their missions to Syria would be shuttered.

Earlier on Thursday, UN aid chief Valerie Amos said that a joint team of Syrian, UN and Organization of Islamic Cooperation staff will begin visiting besieged Syrian towns this weekend to assess the humanitarian situation.