Australia expels 2 Syrian diplomats over massacre
Canberra: Australia expelled two Syrian diplomats on Tuesday in response to last week's massacre in Syria that left more than 100 people dead, mostly women and children.
Charge d'Affaires Jawdat Ali, the most senior Syrian diplomat in Australia, and another diplomat from the Syrian embassy were ordered to leave the country within 72 hours, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told reporters. Carr said he expected other countries to do the same later today.
"This is the most effective way we've got of sending a message of revulsion of what has happened in Syria," Carr said.
Friday's massacre in Houla, a collection of farming villages in Homs province, was one of the deadliest single events in the 15-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule. The United Nations said 49 children and 34 women were among the 108 people killed.
In a statement, Carr called the killings a "hideous and brutal crime" and said Australia would not engage with the Syrian government unless it abides by a UN ceasefire plan.
The UN estimates 9,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011.