The US has lugged out its ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, diplomatic officials say. Mr Ford angered Syrian authorities by cultivating links with activists involved in rising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
He is said to have left Damascus over the weekend, reportedly because of security concerns. Last month, Mr Ford and colleagues were pelted with eggs and tomatoes when visiting an opposition figure.
An official at the US embassy in Damascus refused to prove the Associated Press the reason for Mr Ford being pulled back, but stressed he had not been formally recalled. Mr Ford drew the wrath of Syrian officials when he visited the restive city of Hama in July along with his French counterpart.
In September, he was among a crowd of mainly Western diplomats who paid condolences to the family of a human rights activist allegedly killed under torture. He was then briefly trapped in his office by pro-Assad demonstrators after visiting an opposition figure and being pelted with eggs and tomatoes.