Ankara breaks ties with Damascus

Turkey has expelled Syrians diplomats, joining the US, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Britain, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and Canada in protesting a weekend massacre of more than 100 people in Syria, including women and children.

Breaking the ties with Damascus, Ankara ordered yesterday the Syrian charge d’affaires and other diplomats at the Syrian embassy in Ankara to leave the country within 72 hours.

The Foreign Ministry said it ordered the Syrian charge d’affaires and other diplomats at the Syrian embassy in Ankara to leave the country within 72 hours.

The consulate in Istanbul will remain open for consular duties only. "It is out of the question to remain silent and without any reaction in the face of this action, which amounts to a crime against humanity," the ministry said in a statement yesterday and added that this grave crime against humanity by those who have attempted a massacre of civilians cannot go unpunished.

Touching upon the issue, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “Syria’s ambassador is not here. We conveyed our order to their temporary charge d’affaires and all embassy staff to leave the country,” adding, “Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already made the necessary statement. Our order is part of common sensitivity of international community following killings of 100 people, including 50 children, in Houla. We cannot remain silent. It’s also cruelty to remain silent and allowing cruelty.”

Erdogan added that he believed those who stayed close to Syrian regime would not be able to continue. Erdogan also said new unspecified sanctions might be imposed against Syria in the coming days. The world "cannot remain silent in the face of such a situation," he said.

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