Four nations expel Syrian envoys

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 23:02

Moscow: Australia, Britain, France, and Germany Tuesday announced the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors from their countries over last weekend`s massacre in Syria`s Houla town which the lives of 108 people.

The Friday killings were one of the deadliest single events in the 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar Al Assad`s rule. The UN said the 49 children and 34 women were among the 108 killed.

The countries took the latest step, blaming Syrian president`s forces for the massacre.

French President Francois Hollande said Ambassador Lamia Shakkour would be notified "today or tomorrow" that she must leave.

Britain`s foreign ministry said London was expelling three diplomats, among them Charge d`Affaires Ghassan Dalla -Syria`s top ranking diplomat in Britain, over the deaths in Houla.

Germany would also expel the Syrian ambassador in protest, reported RIA Novosti citing a news agency of Germany.

"This is the most effective way we`ve got of sending a message of revulsion of what has happened in Syria," Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr was quoted as saying by The Independent.

Moscow has consistently accused the West of using the current crisis to seek regime change in Damascus.

The majority of the over 100 people killed at the weekend in Houla were executed, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday, media reports said.

Spokesman Rupert Colville told journalists in Geneva that UN monitors had found that fewer than 20 of the 108 people who died were killed by artillery fire.

Syrian authorities Monday sent a letter to the UN Security Council, denying any involvement in the tragedy and blamed militants from radical Islamist groups for the attack on Houla.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and opposition forces in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.


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First Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 23:02

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