Canada says will expel remaining Syrian diplomats

OTTAWA Tue May 29, 2012 8:16am EDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - 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.

The U.N. human rights office said on Tuesday that most of the 108 people killed in Houla had been shot in their homes. The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed Islamic militants.

"Despite repeated, even continual calls for peace, Assad's reprehensible campaign of savage violence continues unabated," Baird said in the statement.

Canada, like most of its international partners, has already imposed tough economic sanctions on Syria.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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