DAMASCUS, Syria, June 5 (UPI) -- Members of the diplomatic corps from European Union and other western countries have been expelled from Syria, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
"Some countries have recently informed the heads of our diplomatic missions and members of our embassies that they are unwelcome … ," the ministry said Tuesday in a statement obtained by Day Press News. "In response, the Syrian Arab Republic decided to apply the same actions immediately for these countries' envoys to Syria."
The list included diplomats from the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain, France and other countries in the EU bloc that expelled Syrian ambassadors and diplomats last week after President Bashar Assad's violent response to pro-democracy protesters, especially the recent massacre of more than 100 people in Houla.
The ministry's statement said diplomacy is a necessary communications tool between parties to resolve problems and disputes.
The statement said Syrian leaders hoped the countries that expelled Syrian diplomats would "reconsider adopting the same principles" and allow "normal relations" to resume.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Network for Human Rights and the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies said they documented 12 deaths Monday and Tuesday in several cities.
The rights organizations said three people died in Idleb, and one each in Homs, Aleppo, Darra and Lattakia Tuesday.
On Monday, four people were reported killed in Idleb and one in Homs, the organizations said in a release.
The majority of the deaths were caused by random shelling, the groups said.