Al Jazeera's Arabic bureau in Syria has been suspended for safety reasons, the broadcaster today confirmed.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported the suspension of Al Jazeera's operations inside Syria follow restrictions on its activities and attacks on its staff. Al Jazeera declined to comment further on the matter.

According to the CPJ Al Jazeera's Syria-based staff were told by authorities "not to communicate with the station's headquarters in Doha, and not to appear on air to present the news from the bureau, even if by telephone”.

The press freedom organisation also claims "scores" of local journalists and bloggers have been detained in Syria during the uprisings, with some released but others remaining in custody.

"Syria believes that by harassing, expelling, and arresting journalists it can prevent the world from seeing the civil unrest gripping the country," CPJ middle east and north Africa program coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem said in the report.

"This strategy has already failed in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. The government in Damascus must immediately stop harassing and threatening all journalists and allow them to work freely."

The suspension of Al Jazeera's Arabic bureau in Syria follows the closure of the broadcaster's Cairo bureau, allegedly by Egyptian authorities, during uprisings in the country.

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