People watch the mass burial on May 26 of the victims killed in the central Syrian city of Houla
A picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows people at the burial on May 26 of people killed in the central Syrian city of Houla. The United States on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of Syria's top diplomat in Washington over the weekend massacre in Houla. AFP is using pictures from alternative sources as it was not authorised to cover this event. © - AFP/Shaam News Network/File
People watch the mass burial on May 26 of the victims killed in the central Syrian city of Houla
AFP
Last updated: May 29, 2012

US expels Syrian charge d'affaires over massacre

The United States ordered Tuesday the expulsion of Syria's top diplomat in Washington over the weekend massacre in Houla in which more than 90 people were killed, including at least 30 children.

"We hold the Syrian government responsible for this slaughter of innocent lives," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, informing charge d'affaires Zuheir Jabbour that he had 72 hours to leave the country.

Nuland said the expulsion was carried out in coordination with countries like Australia, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany, which have also moved to expel Syrian ambassadors or top envoys.

"We encourage all countries to condemn the actions of the Assad regime through similar action," Nuland said in a statement.

"This massacre is the most unambiguous indictment to date of the Syrian government's flagrant violations of its UN Security Council obligations... along with the regime's ongoing threat to peace and security," Nuland said.

Her statement said President Bashar al-Assad's regime had violated UN Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2042 under which monitors were sent to Syria to observe an April 12 ceasefire, which has been broken daily.

She said UN observers confirmed that more than 90 people, including at least 30 children under the age of 10, had died May 25 in the village of Houla "after the vicious assault involving tanks and artillery."

She added these are "weapons that only the (Assad) regime possesses."

"There are also reports that many families were summarily executed in their homes by regime forces," Nuland said.

The head of the UN monitoring team in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, told the UN Security Council on Sunday that 108 people had died and 300 people were injured in the assault.

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