Syria expels diplomats as clashes continue
Syria announced Tuesday its decision to expel the American, British, French, Swiss, Spanish and Italian ambassadors as well as commercial attaches from Belgium, Bulgaria and Canada. In late May, several countries included in the Friends of Syria Group announced their decision to expel Syrian diplomats following claims Damascus was responsible for the killings perpetrated on May 25th in the village of Hula, which saw the death of over 100 civilians.
At the diplomatic level, Russian President Vladimir Putin began a three-day visit to China, partly devoted to the crisis in Syria. Moscow and Beijing, the closest allies of Damascus, have been opposing any military action against Syria and the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. "On the Syrian issue, China and Russia have remained in close touch and coordination in New York, Moscow and Beijing," said the spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Liu Weimin.
On the ground, Syrian regime's forces bombed and raided several towns across the country, killing at least six people. Among others the Syrian army stormed the town of Kafarzita in the province of Hama (center) after three days of bombing, reported the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR).
In addition, the regime's forces bombed several locations including the rebel city of Homs and fought the Free Syrian Army rebels (FSA) in the Latakia region (northwest).
At Idleb, near the Turkish border, four civilians were killed and others were seriously injured during a "major military operation" conducted during the night in the town of Kafroueid.
On its part, Turkey announced that more than 2,000 Syrians fleeing violence in their country arrived in Turkey over the last three days. The number of Syrian refugees in camps set up in southern Turkey reached on Tuesday to 26,747, up from less than 24.433 on Saturday.
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