STOCKHOLM, July 24 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Ericsson, the world’s leading mobile telecoms equipment maker, said on Tuesday it had temporarily closed its office in the Syrian capital Damascus due to the worsened security situation there.
An Ericsson spokesman said the firm made the decision last week when violence intensified in Damascus, with rebels battling deep into the city and the defence minister killed in a bomb attack.
“We revised our security assessment last week,” spokesman Fredrik Hallstan said. “We are closing down temporarily because of the security situation.”
Around 10 of the 47 employees are being relocated to Ericsson offices in neighbouring countries, while the others are now working from home, he said.
Ericsson’s two clients in its relatively very small Syrian market are South African mobile operator MTN and Syria’s fixed network firm STE. Hallstan s a id Ericsson hadn’t signed any new orders with the firms this year but was working under existing deals.
Ericsson last year halted contracts with Syria’s main mobile phone operator Syriatel as sanctions were introduced.
After a week of bloody battles between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and his opponents in Damascus, fighting on Tuesday intensified in Aleppo, a commercial city that long seemed immune to the 16-month-old upheaval convulsing Syria.
Syria is a very small market for Ericsson. (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Mark Potter)