Skip to main content

Libya expels Syrian diplomatic mission

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:37 PM EST, Thu February 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Syrian staff were told to leave within 72 hours
  • Libya says the reason is Syria's position toward its people
  • Other nations have also expelled Syrian diplomats

(CNN) -- Libya is expelling Syria's diplomats because of the escalation of the government's crackdown on its people, Libya's Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

The Syrian charge d'affaires was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Tripoli on Wednesday and told to leave with his staff within 72 hours, ministry spokesman Saad Elshlmani said.

"The reason for this is the position of the Syrian regime towards the Syrian people," he explained.

"After this escalation and the Arab League meetings in Cairo and the draft resolution ... Libya found it's the time to take a much stronger position against the Syrian regime."

The Syrian state news agency SANA reported the Syrian consul in Libya, Mohammed al-Ghazawi, and his staff were attacked by gangs on their way to the Foreign Ministry, where they were told to leave.

The gangs attacked the Syrians' cars with clubs, knives, and cleavers, SANA reported. The Syrian Embassy was also attacked and looted, the news agency said.

A number of other nations have expelled Syria's ambassadors over the violence. They include Tunisia and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council -- the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait.

Other countries, including the United States, have either closed their own embassies in Syria or temporarily recalled their ambassadors from Damascus.

CNN's Ivan Watson contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT