Christopher Knaus August 08, 2012
Furniture for sale at the shop in Phillip, including a table, centre, with folding wings, which appears in a photo, inset, taken from the Syrian embassy's website. Main Photo: Melissa Adams
The last possessions held by the notorious Syrian regime in Canberra are discreetly being sold from a small, unmarked shopfront in the Phillip commercial district.
The closure marked the end of the regime's physical presence in Canberra, and came as the internal conflict in Syria intensified.
But The Canberra Times has learned that, as a war between government troops and opposition fighters continues to rage in Syria, furnishings from the now abandoned embassy are being sold from a nondescript shop in Colby Court.
The collection of furniture includes ornate dressers, beds, dining tables, lamps, armchairs, desks and couches.
When approached, the man holding the collection first asked whether there was interest in purchasing the furniture.
He then declined to comment.
It is understood some of the furniture is being sold, while other pieces may be donated to embassies, or used to furnish the man's home and those of friends.
It is unclear how the man, a former leading figure in the local Syrian community, came to be in possession of the embassy's furnishings.
The closure of the O'Malley embassy has left the Syrian Government's Sydney consulate to handle all consular matters.
The Canberra embassy was closed a month after Syrian Charge d'Affaires Jawdat Ali and another diplomat were given 72 hours to leave the country in late May.
The remaining Syrian diplomats left the country on June 26.
It also comes after the embassy was trashed in a raid in early February.
More pictures from inside the embassy can be seen on the embassy website.