Syria's ambassador to France appeared to resign Tuesday on a French television network, then about an hour later Syrian state television aired her angry denial and threat to sue.
It was not immediately possible for The Associated Press to reconcile the two accounts or tell if the voices on the two networks belonged to the same woman. There was no video.
A top editor at France 24 said the network called a telephone number they had used previously for Ambassador Lamia Shakkour and she agreed to join a debate show, then abruptly announced her resignation in French and English.
Syria has been beset by 11 weeks of growing protests and a crackdown that activists say has left more than 1,300 people dead.
Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has maintained a unified front until now, with only two members of parliament resigning since the start of the uprising in mid-March, one of whom later went back on his resignation.
The ambassador's unwillingness or inability to appear in person to deny or confirm the resignation underscored the complexity of the messages coming out of Syria. Foreign reporters have been expelled, the government keeps tight control of information, and people fear retribution if they talk.
On France 24, the woman said she could remain silent no more.
"Even if I always admired the courage of our armed forces, I cannot support this cycle of violence. I cannot ignore all the demonstrators who died in honor, and whose families today live in pain," the woman said on France 24's French language station, which was aired as audio with a photo of her. "My resignation as ambassador of Syria in France takes effect immediately." France 24 broadcasts in French, English and Arabic.
Roughly an hour later, Syrian state television aired a statement with a woman identifying herself as the ambassador and denying she had resigned.
"It's part of this biased campaign of misinformation that seeks to do one thing: to destroy the credibility of this great nation, this nation of great people, great youth, great young women, this homeland that his worth more than anything else in this world," the woman said in Arabic. There was no video.
The woman also promised a press conference "in moments, at the closest possible opportunity" in French on "the biggest French channels" _ which didn't immediately materialize.
In a later interview on al-Arabiya, the woman called the report of her resignation a Zionist conspiracy.
Renee Kaplan, deputy editorial director at France 24, said the network had invited Shakkour to appear on its live debate show, and she declared first in English and then in French that she was resigning.
"We invited her and called her directly. We called on a number we have had for her that we have reached her on before," Kaplan said. There was no answer at that number or response to text messages when AP tried it later Tuesday.
A small group of reporters stood outside the Syrian Embassy in Paris late Tuesday, where several staffers insisted that Shakkour had not resigned. The staffers, however, would not identify themselves.
A local French television crew was invited inside the embassy, which appeared to be buzzing with activity despite the late hour.
The embassy's website also appeared to be down or hacked. France's Foreign Ministry declined immediate comment about the reports.
Karam reported from Beirut. Angela Charlton contributed from Paris.