Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced on March 5 that Ottawa was closing its embassy and consulate in Syria "effective immediately" . . . the Canadian government also announced that it would be expanding economic sanctions on Damascus, including freezing the assets of an additional seven Syrian government ministers and the Central Bank of Syria . . . 115 individuals and 39 entities are currently being sanctioned by Canada . . . Ottawa had likely continued to maintain its embassy so it could help monitor the situation for the US, UK, and France, which had already withdrawn from Damascus . . . Baird is remaining firm on Ottawa’s desire for Assad to step down and will likely continue to escalate sanctions against Syria if no progress is made in stopping the violence.