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Syria withdraws accreditation of Reuters correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Syria has withdrawn the accreditation of a Reuters correspondent, saying he had filed “unprofessional and false” coverage of events in Syria.

Reuters said it stood by its coverage from Syria, where a week of protests in southern towns have presented President Bashar al-Assad with the deepest crisis of his 11-year rule.

Senior Correspondent Khaled Yacoub Oweis, who had been based in Damascus since February 2006, was told to leave Syria late on Friday.

A senior Information Ministry official told him: “Your accreditation has been withdrawn and you are being expelled because of your unprofessional and false news. You have to leave immediately.”

Syrian Information Ministry officials were not available on Saturday to offer clarification.

“We regret the decision by the Syrian government to exclude our correspondent. We stand by our coverage and are committed to continuing our accurate and impartial reporting about Syria,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said.

Oweis, a Jordanian national, was the first foreign correspondent to be accredited for Reuters in Damascus. He has also reported from Baghdad, Beirut, Amman and London.

Reuters, part of New York-based Thomson Reuters, the leading information provider, employs some 3,000 journalists worldwide.

Reporting in English, Arabic and more than a dozen other languages, Reuters has had bureaux across the Middle East for well over a century.