Syria sends 3 diplomats to Kuwait to reopen embassy months after it was closed

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DAMASCUS, Syria — Three Syrian diplomats left Damascus for Kuwait Monday where they will reopen their country's embassy in the Persian Gulf nation, a Syrian official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, told The Associated Press that the diplomats include a charge d'affairs.

Kuwait, where tens of thousands of Syrians live, has been a strong supporter of the opposition trying to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

Khaled al-Jarallah, an undersecretary at Kuwait's Foreign Ministry, was quoted in the local Kuwaiti news website Aljarida earlier this month as saying that the Syrian diplomats left Kuwait City voluntarily in March and are returning voluntarily to resume consular services for Syrian residents there.

Al-Jarallah was quoted as saying that this does not mean a normalization of relations with Syria and that Kuwaiti diplomats would not be returning to Damascus, where the embassy closed after Syria's crisis began in March 2011.

The Syrian Embassy in Kuwait shuttered it doors nine months ago, forcing some 130,000 Syrian residents there to seek consular services from the embassy that remains open in the United Arab Emirates. Syrians across the Gulf Arab states have struggled to renew their passports and register marriages, births and deaths with their government because of the closure of Syrian embassies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

In early 2012, amid calls for the expulsion of the Syrian diplomats, demonstrators stormed the Syrian Embassy compound in Kuwait City, breaking windows and hoisting the green-striped flag of the anti-Assad opposition.

Earlier Monday, a Syrian official said two suicide attackers targeted separate natural gas facilities in the central province of Homs, killing eight people.

The state news agency SANA also reported the attacks, saying guards opened fire on the attackers as they drove toward the plants, forcing them to detonate their explosives before reaching their targets. It said the facilities continued operating as usual.

The local official in Homs told the AP that the attacks killed eight people and wounded 12. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

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