Police in Almaty say a probe has been launched into suspected arson after a fire devastated the Syrian consulate in Kazakhstan's biggest city.
Initial reports suggested the fire occurred overnight on July16-17, but a spokesman for the Almaty emergency situations department has told RFE/RL that the blaze happened on July 9.
It was not immediately clear why news about the fire was not disclosed until July 17 in a report by private Kazakh television KTK
The Syrian consul in Almaty, Samir Derekh, said in an interview with KTK that the fire was most likely caused by supporters of "radical religious groups" who threw Molotov cocktails at Syria's only diplomatic mission in Kazakhstan.
Police declined to confirm that the building was firebombed, but said investigators are probing a suspected "premeditated arson attack."
The blaze comes with Syria in turmoil over the deadly conflict between the government and opposition supporters.