Syria declares Western diplomats "unwelcome"

  • Syria's government has banned 17 Western diplomats a week after governments around the world expelled its ambassadors.

    Top diplomats from the United States, Canada, Turkey and several European countries have been expelled as President Bashar al-Assad responds to growing international pressure to put an end to his campaign in fighting the revolt against his rule.

    The expulsion of Syrian diplomats came in protest of the Houla massacre, in which more than 100 civilians, including 49 children and 34 women, were killed by suspected Assad loyalists.

    An estimated 15,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March last year.

    More than 78,000 Syrians have fled to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, according to the UN.