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June 25, 2021

Syria expels Western ambassadors

Syria has declared as unwelcome the ambassadors of several Western states, a week after governments around the world expelled its top diplomats, BBC informs. The envoys of the US, UK, France and Turkey were among 17 diplomats designated “personae non gratae”.President Bashar al-Assad blamed “foreign meddling” for Syria’s divisions in a speech on Sunday. The move came as activists said at least seven people had been killed in violence across Syria on Tuesday.Four civilians were killed overnight in a “huge military operation” in Kafrouaid, a village in the Jabal al-Zawiya area of the northern province of Idlib, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Troops and pro-regime militiamen backed by tanks were also reported to have stormed the town of Kfar Zita in the central province of Hama, and killed two rebel fighters in the Mediterranean port city of Latakia. Several villages south-west of the central city of Homs earlier came under intense army artillery- and mortar-fire, leaving three people dead.

Hundreds of Syrians protest in Bucharest against violence in Syria

Hundreds of Syrians took part on Saturday in Bucharest in a protest against the violence taking place in their home country, asking Romanian President Traian Basescu to accept the proposal to expel the Syrian ambassador. According to Mediafax, protesters chanted against the Syrian regime and condemned the Houla massacre in which 108 persons, 49 of them children, were killed on May 25. Foreign Affairs Minister Andrei Marga stated on Sunday evening on Romania TV that there is the risk that Syria might react if the Syrian Ambassador is declared personae non gratae. We remind our readers that last Thursday the Foreign Minister proposed to the government and presidency the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador to Bucharest and the recall of the Romanian ambassador to Damascus as a form of protest against the Houla massacre. Minister Marga also pointed out that the ministry analyzed several scenarios in this diplomatic dossier and that a series of solutions was proposed, solutions that “are not compulsory” since the decision in this case belongs to Traian Basescu since it is part of his constitutional prerogatives. He added that one of the scenarios analyzed, a scenario the President allegedly considered, was that of a Syrian reaction to this kind of gesture. At the same time, Marga pointed out that of all EU member states Romania is the one that has the largest community of citizens in Syria. According to the Syrian Internal Affairs Ministry, that community totals 5,000 persons plus children. It has to be said that last Friday, Ziad Mashalmeh, head of the Syrian community in Timisoara, stated for Mediafax that two local women, aged 18 and 23 respectively, that were living with their father in Syria were killed in the Houla massacre. Both the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Presidential spokesperson Bogdan Oprea dismissed the rumor on Saturday. Oprea stated for Mediafax that the Presidential Administration is calling on Syrian organizations in Romania “to refrain from launching false information with the goal of expressing political beliefs.”

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