Britain expels Syrian diplomats
Foreign Secretary William Hague said international pressure on the Syrian regime would continue to be increased
Syria's Charge d'Affaires is being expelled from Britain as an expression of "horror" at the behaviour of the regime, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.
Two other diplomats are also to leave the country within seven days but the embassy will not be closed.
Mr Hague said there was no unanimity on the United Nations Security Council for a military intervention but said international pressure on the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad would continue to be increased. Other countries, including the United States, France and Germany, are also expelling Syrian diplomats.
It is not clear whether Assad's forces were exclusively to blame for the slaughter of 108 people on Friday in Houla, a collection of poor farming villages in Homs province. The United Nations said 49 children and 34 women were among the dead. Some had bullet holes through their heads.
Mr Hague said: "We have been speaking in recent days to increase the pressure on the Assad regime and get the message across to them the world, the international community, is appalled by the violence that has continued, by the behaviour of the regime, by the murder of so many innocent people, including in the terrible massacre at Houla reported at the end of last week.
"And to get the message across to them that they have to choose, that time will run out for Assad. They have to make the choice of what they are going to do.
"As part of that pressure today we have again called the Syrian Charge in London here to the Foreign Office. He has been given seven days to leave the country. Other Syrian diplomats will be expelled, two other diplomats will be expelled at the same time. Our allies and partners around the world will be taking similar action and announcing it today - including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, Canada and Australia.
"We will seek other ways to increase the pressure as well, a further tightening of sanctions on Syria, the discussions with Russia I had yesterday. We will go on trying to increase international pressure on the regime, this is part of that tightening of pressure."
Asked about the claims by Syrian general Mofwaq Joumaa, president of the Syrian National Olympic Committee, that he would come to the London 2012 Olympics, Mr Hague said: "It will be up to us who comes into the United Kingdom.
"Of course we are very clear people who we know have committed human rights abuses will not be among those admitted to the United Kingdom. We will assess each application to come into the UK on a case-by-case basis and we are not going to give a running commentary on individuals as we go along."