U.S., Allies Expel Syrian Diplomats Following Houla Massacre

Syrian diplomats have been expelled from the United States, as well as many of their allies, following a deadly massacre in Houla, which killed 108 civilians, including 49 children.

Along with The U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands have announced on Tuesday that they are expelling top Syrian diplomats in protest of the May 25th massacre, according to Yahoo News. The U.N. confirmed the massacre, as well as the death toll, on Monday, stating that the dead include whole families, and almost half of the dead were children.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement that:

“Today the United States informed the Syrian Chargé d’Affaires Zuheir Jabbour of his expulsion from the United States. He has 72 hours to leave the country.”

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr stated that Charge d’Affaires Jawdat Ali, who is the most senior Syrian diplomat in Australia, will be expelled, along with another diplomat from the Syrian Embassy. Time reports that all of the diplomats expelled in each country have 72 hours once they are notified to leave. Carr stated that:

“This is the most effective way we’ve got of sending a message of revulsion of what has happened in Syria.”

The U.N. and its supporting countries have struggled for months on how to stem the violence in the Country, which has seen civil unrest for the past 15 months. Reuters reports that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Syrian president Bashar al-Assad a murderer. Fabius stated:

“Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must relinquish power. The sooner the better.”

The Huffington Post reports that Germany announced the expulsion of Syria’s ambassador to the Eastern European country. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stated that:

“The Syrian regime bears responsibility for the terrible events in Houla. It has been clear not just since Houla that Syria has no future under Assad.”

Sweden and Turkey are among the countries who have made no move to expel their diplomats. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson of Sweden stated that the Swedes are concerned that expelling the diplomat could affect their own diplomatic presence in Syria. Tunisia, which is the birthplace of Arab uprisings against entrenched autocrats, which spread across the country to Syria, already expelled their Syrian ambassador, according to The Associated Press.

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