The embassy closure by such a key regional player is likely to increase pressure on the Syrian government. Turkey also pledged, along with the US, to increase 'non-lethal aid' to Syrian rebels.
The European Union has announced that it will freeze the assets of four members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's family, including his British wife Asma.
Russia has spent political and real capital building alliances with Syria and Iran. It's not surprising that Moscow now wants to defend its allies' interests at the bargaining table.
The United Nations Security Council secured Russia's critical backing yesterday for a statement backing envoy Kofi Annan's peacemaking plan. The step marks a distinct shift in Russia's stance.