Britain joins Germany, France in expelling Syrian envoy

AFP , Tuesday 29 May 2012

World powers expel Syrian diplomats in response to Houla massacre that left at least 108 dead

Residents shout as they gather around a vehicle carrying United Nations observers in Houla, near Homs in this handout dated May 26, (Photo: Reuters).

Britain is expelling the top Syrian diplomat in London in protest at the massacre of at least 108 people in the town of Houla, a government source said Tuesday.

"The charge d'affaires is being expelled. The foreign secretary will give more details soon," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. Syria had already withdrawn its ambassador from London.

Before Britain, Germany had said on Tuesday it would expel the Syrian ambassador for the same reason, national agency DPA reported.

DPA said the 52-year-old ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry and told he has 72 hours to leave the country. Germany's move followed similar measures announced by French President Francois Hollande.

The German foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported the expulsions were a coordinated move with France, Britain and Italy.

Australia also expelled Syria's top diplomat earlier Tuesday.

World leaders have voiced outrage over the deaths of at least 108 people in the central town of Houla on Friday and Saturday, among them 49 children and 34 women, many blown to bits or shot dead at point blank range.

Most of the victims of the massacre were summarily executed, the UN rights body said.

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