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15 Jun, 2013 19:11

Morsi says Egypt cuts all ties with Damascus, calls for Syria no-fly zone

Morsi says Egypt cuts all ties with Damascus, calls for Syria no-fly zone

Egypt has decided to cut all ties with Syria, close the embassy in Cairo and withdraw the Egyptian envoy from Damascus, said Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. He also urged the international powers to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.

"We have decided to close down the Syrian embassy in Cairo," said Morsi during a conference of Sunni Muslim clerics in support of the Syrian uprising at Cairo Indoor Stadium, according to local newspaper Ahram online. "The Egyptian envoy in Damascus will also be withdrawn."

The decision came into effect Saturday.

On Sunday Syria said it condemns the 'irresponsible' Egypt decision to cut diplomatic ties, AFP reports.

Morsi also condemned Hezbollah, the Shiite Islamic militant group based in Lebanon. 

"We stand against Hezbollah in its aggression against the Syrian people," Morsi said. "There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria.” 

Hezbollah fighters  have  reportedly been fighting alongside Syrian pro-government troops against the opposition forces in the ongoing conflict. 

Addressing the massive crowd at the stadium, the Egyptian president said "the Egyptian people support the struggle of the Syrian people, materially and morally, and Egypt, its nation, leadership ... and army, will not abandon the Syrian people until it achieves its rights and dignity."

Morsi urged the international powers not to hesitate to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. His supporters chanted: "From the free revolutionaries of Egypt: We will stamp on you, Bashar!"

The US has been giving consideration to the issue of setting up a no-fly zone across Syria and possibly along Jordan’s border after claims that nerve gas was used by the Syrian government, sources told Reuters. “Washington is considering a no-fly zone to help Assad's opponents,” a senior diplomat told the agency. 

But Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has stressed that any attempt to establish the no-fly zone would be a violation of international law.

"There have been leaks from western media regarding the serious consideration to create a no-fly zone over Syria through the deployment of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and F-16 jets in Jordan," Lavrov said. "You don't have to be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law." 

However, while calling for foreign interference into the Syrian conflict, Morsi has warned against any unrest at home as massive anti-government protests are planned to take place on June 30.

"There is no place for the troublemakers [who threat] the nation's security and stability. We shall decisively stop them," he said as quoted by Ahram Online.

Stressing that he does not mean the opposition he said that "remnants of the former regime want to drag the country to chaos." 

Jason Ditz, news editor at antiwar.com told RT that Morsi’s support of the Syrian opposition is not surprising.

“The Cairo government came to power in protests of its own. It has taken the policy it would like to see the Arab Spring to spread across the Middle East. The fact that in Syria instead of peaceful protests it’s become a violent proxy war between international forces backing Islamists, [and] Iran and Hezbollah backing the government doesn’t seem to enter into it. I think mostly President Morsi is trying to gain credibility among his Islamist followers in Egypt by being on the side of jihad.”