Canadian embassy in Syria was not evacuated before Israeli attack on Iranian embassy

9 April 2024
What was claimed

The Canadian embassy in Damascus, Syria, was evacuated 30 minutes before an Israeli airstrike on the nearby Iranian consulate building.

Our verdict

The Canadian embassy suspended its operations in Syria in 2012, and has no diplomats in the country.

Social media posts are claiming the Canadian embassy in Syria’s capital, Damascus, was evacuated 30 minutes before the nearby Iranian embassy was struck by Israeli missiles. But Canada’s embassy in Syria has been closed for more than a decade and there are no Canadian diplomats in the country. 

Several posts on both Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), with one post having more than 6,600 shares, claim: “The Canadian embassy in Damascus is literally 30 meters away from the Iranian embassy. All the employees of the Canadian embassy in Damascus were withdrawn half an hour before the Israeli strike... It’s not a coincidence.” 

Another post adds: “This was a planned, deliberate strike with Western approval.” Several posts include a Google maps satellite image apparently showing the close proximity of the two embassies with one building separating them. 

Israeli jets reportedly struck the Iranian consulate in Damascus with several missiles on 1 April 2024, killing 13 people, including seven Revolutionary Guards, according to Iran’s state media. The Iranian consulate is a building within the country's embassy complex. Israel has previously acknowledged carrying out strikes in Syria against Iran’s “military entrenchment” and weapon shipments. 

While Canada’s embassy is geographically close to the Iranian embassy complex, it has not been in operation for several years. 

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told Full Fact that: “There are no Canadian diplomats in Damascus. The Embassy of Canada to Syria, in Damascus, suspended its operations in March 2012.”

Global Affairs Canada announced in March 2012 that it was suspending embassy and consular operations in Syria because of the “deteriorating security situation” and said Canadian diplomats had left the country. 

The page of “consular assistance” in Syria on Canada’s government website says: “The Embassy of Canada to Syria, in Damascus, has suspended its operations” and it was last updated on 13 March 2024. It recommends Canadians in Syria seeking information should contact its service based in Ottawa that provides consular assistance for Canadian citizens and their relatives in emergencies. 

You can find more of our work fact checking claims relating to the conflict in the Middle East on our website.  

Image courtesy of Vyacheslav Argenberg

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