Western states to expel Syrian diplomats

  • The United States, France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Switzerland are expelling senior Syrian diplomats in protest of the killing of 108 people in the country’s Houla region on Friday.

    Most of the victims, including 49 children and 34 women, were shot dead at close range, according to the United Nations.

    Following talks with President Bashar al-Assad, joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said Syria was at a "tipping point".

    Assad has blamed the violence on "terrorists" while witnesses have said the pro-government militia known as the “shabiha” carried out the killings.

    Activists estimate 15,000 people have lost their lives during the violent 15-month crackdown against opponents of the Assad regime.