Canada, France, Germany, Australia to expel Syrian diplomats over Houla slaughter

posted at 10:41 am on May 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when the Obama administration demanded that Hosni Mubarak had to go “yesterday,” bombed Moammar Qaddafi, and then insisted that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad was a “reformer”?  The city of Houla became the latest recipient of Assad’s “reforms,” as 108 people got massacred by government forces and their allies:

The U.N.’s human rights office on Tuesday added grim new details about the massacre of more than 100 people in a rural area in Syria last week, saying that most of the dead were shot at close range, some of them women and children killed in their homes.

The brutality of the Houla killings, documented in gruesome amateur videos of scores of bodies laid out before burial, sparked widespread international outrage and raised new questions about the ability of an international plan to end 15-months of violence in Syria.

The U.N. said that at least 108 people, including 34 women and 49 children, were killed in an attack that began on Friday and continued through the night on Houla, a group of poor farming villages northwest of the central Syrian city of Homs.

The locals told UN observers that the killings were conducted by a combination of pro-Assad militia forces and government troops.  Russia, which had supported Assad and had even sent a small number of troops as an “anti-terrorism” force to Syria, blamed Assad for the massacre at Houla.  Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan flew back to Syria today to try to revive his peace plan despite the demonstration of Assad’s brutality:

Kofi Annan on Tuesday met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for crunch talks amid global outrage over the Houla massacre of more than 100 people, as the UN said most of them had been summarily executed.

On his arrival in Damascus on Monday, UN and Arab League peace envoy Annan called the “tragic” massacre in the central region “an appalling moment with profound consequences.”

Others have had enough.  France, Germany, and Australia have announced plans to expel Assad’s ambassadors after the massacre.  Canada will go one step further and expel the entire Syrian diplomatic contingent in Ottawa:

Canada will immediately expel the three remaining Syrian diplomats in Ottawa in response to a massacre in the town of Houla last week, Foreign Minister John Baird said on Tuesday.

Baird told Ottawa’s CFRA radio that the trio – a charge d’affaires and two other officials – had been told they were being kicked out. France and Germany have already announced they are expelling the Syrian envoys.

“Canada and our partners are speaking loudly, with one voice, in saying these Syrian representatives are not welcome in our countries while their masters in Damascus continue to perpetrate their heinous and murderous acts,” Baird said in a separate news release.

Well, most of their partners, anyway.  The US State Department “condemns in the strongest possible terms” the Houla massacre, but so far have not followed suit on diplomatic action with our Western allies.  This must be smart power once again.


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