Saudi Arabia on Sunday condemned an attack by angry protesters on its embassy in Damascus, blaming the Syrian government for a security lapse, the Saudi state news agency reported.
“The Syrian forces did not carry out the necessary measures to stop” the demonstrators, a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by SPA news agency.
“The Saudi government strongly condemns this incident and holds the Syrian authorities responsible for the security and protection of all Saudi interests in Syria,” said the unnamed official.
The attack on the Saudi embassy on Saturday evening was triggered by the Arab League’s suspension of Syria over its failure to honour a deal to end a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
According to SPA, a group of protesters gathered outside the embassy and began hurling stones at the building. They eventually smashed windows and entered the premises, ransacking property inside.
Saudi Arabia recalled its Syrian ambassador on August 8 and announced the move was in protest over the government’s repression of demonstrators.
Also Saturday, demonstrators protested outside the Qatari embassy in Damascus and in other cities also in protest over the Arab League decision.
The protesters waved Syrian flags and brandished photos of President Bashar al-Assad, chanting slogans in support of him, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
One group of protesters forced open the gate and made their way to the top of the building, where they removed the Qatari flag and put up a Syrian one, as embassy security personnel fired tear gas.
Qatar’s ambassador also left the Syrian capital in July.
Arab Leagues foreign ministers voted on Saturday to suspend Syria over its failure to comply with an agreement to end the crackdown on a nation-wide protest movement calling for Assad’s resignation.
The Gulf Cooperation Council chief meanwhile strongly condemned the attacks on the Qatari and Saudi embassies.
“These attacks are a violation of diplomatic norms,” GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement released Sunday.
“I call on the Syrian authorities to take the necessary security measures to protect diplomatic missions and their staff and to hold the perpetrators accountable,” he said.
The crackdown has cost more than 3,500 Syrian lives, according to UN figures.