2 Jun 2012

Expelled Syrian diplomat leaves Australia

3:21 pm on 2 June 2012

The Syrian chargé d'affaires and his family have left Australia after being expelled by the Australian government in response to a massacre in a Syrian town last week.

Jawdat Ali, who was also accredited to New Zealand, boarded a plane at Sydney's international airport overnight on Friday bound for Doha.

The ABC reports a crowd of protesters and a few supporters of the Assad regime had gathered at the airport and clashed as Mr Ali and his family were escorted to their flight.

Supporters of the Syrian Government saying it was not right for Australia to expel the diplomat.

The Australian government expelled Mr Ali and his family in protest at last week's massacre of 108 people in the town of Houla.

That move was followed by other Western countries, including the US, Canada, Britain and France, who all expelled representatives of the Damascus regime.

Syria has blamed armed groups for the Houla massacre but survivors, UN observers and Western countries say government troops and pro-regime militiamen were to blame.