Australia expels two Syrian diplomats


Australia has expelled two Syrian diplomats in response to last week's massacre in Syria in which more than 100 people, mostly women and children, were killed.

Charge d'affaires Jawdat Ali, the most senior Syrian diplomat in Australia, and another diplomat from the Syrian Embassy were ordered to leave the country within 72 hours, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told reporters.

He added that he expected other countries to do the same later today.

“This is the most effective way we've got of sending a message of revulsion of what has happened in Syria,” said Mr Carr.

Friday's massacre in Houla, a collection of farming villages in Homs province, was one of the deadliest single events in the 15-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule.

The United Nations said 49 children and 34 women were among the 108 people killed.

In a statement, Mr Carr called the killings a “hideous and brutal crime” and said Australia would not engage with the Syrian government unless it abides by a UN ceasefire plan.

The UN estimates 9,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011.