Thursday, February 9, 2012

Germany expels four members of Syrian Embassy, cites Syrian arrest of Germans

(CNN) -- Germany is expelling four members of the Syrian Embassy, citing the arrest this week of two men suspected of spying on Syrian opposition groups in Germany, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement released Thursday.

"After the arrest of two persons suspected of spying for Syria, I have ordered the expulsion of four members of the Syrian Embassy in Berlin," Westerwelle said.

The Syrian ambassador was called to the Foreign Office on Monday where the "German government made clear its position to not accept actions against Syrian members of the opposition in Germany," according to the statement.

The expulsion comes at a critical time for the Syrian government, which is under fire for a brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrators calling for the end of the regime. Earlier this week, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (the GCC), a politically and economically aligned group of countries bordering the Persian Gulf, announced it would expel their Syrian ambassadors and withdraw its Gulf State envoys from Syria. Read More