"Due the developments in Syria, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has shut down its embassy in Damascus and withdrawn all its diplomats and staff there," said a Saudi statement.

Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly pressed for world action against Damascus and called for rebels to be armed, was one of six Gulf monarchies to expell Syria's ambassadors and withdraw their own in February.

At least 8,500 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.