Syrian embassy in 'intimidation' row

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Indy Politics

The Foreign Office summoned Syria's ambassador yesterday amid reports that a diplomat at his embassy has been intimidating Syrian protesters in the UK.

The FCO's Middle East director, Christian Turner, told ambassador Sami Khiyami that the alleged intimidation, if true, amounted to a "clear breach of acceptable behaviour".

"If such claims were substantiated, the Foreign Office would respond swiftly and appropriately," Mr Turner is reported to have said.

The Foreign Office said last week that it was made aware of claims that Syria's embassy has had photographs taken of protesters involved in anti-regime rallies in the UK, and that those images have been shown to demonstrators' families in Syria in an attempt to harass them.

Several Syrian activists who had attended protests in London had claimed they had received phone calls and visits to their homes, while their families in Syria had been intimidated.

The Syrian embassy has repeatedly denied the claims, saying it served the entire Syrian community.

At the time of the allegations being made public, the Metropolitan Police said it had no knowledge of any allegations being made against the Syrian embassy.

In May, two Libyan diplomats were expelled over allegations they were operating against UK-based demonstrators opposed to Muammar Gaddafi.