The United States has condemned Syria's decision to recognize the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the United States “strongly condemns the Syrian regime’s intention to establish diplomatic relations with the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
"These regions are part of Georgia,” she added. “The United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is unwavering."
Nauert also reiterated U.S. calls on Russia to withdraw its forces to the positions they were holding before a short war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008.
The statement comes a day after Georgia says it will sever diplomatic relations with Syria over Damascus’s decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.
The European Union also condemned the Syrian move, saying it "violates international law."
South Ossetia and Abkhazia are Russia-backed separatist regions that have declared independence from Georgia. Russia recognized the regions as independent states following a five-day war with Georgia in 2008.
There are Russian troops and bases in the two regions.
Venezuela, Nicaragua, and the Pacific island of Nauru have also recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.