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Gulf Arab Nations Recall Ambassadors From Syria, Expel Syrian Diplomats

"Gulf Arab countries announced on Tuesday they were recalling their ambassadors from Damascus and expelling Syrian envoys in response to worsening violence in Syria," Reuters says.

The United Arab Emirates' Khaleej Times is also reporting the news. And GulfNews.com says the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council released a statement saying, in part:

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, current head of the council, announces that the GCC states have decided to withdraw all their ambassadors from Syria and also demand that all ambassadors of the Syrian regime in its lands leave immediately."

The other nations in the GCC: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

As we reported earlier, activists and citizen journalists say forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad are again shelling and firing on people in the city of Homs, one of the places where anti-regime protests have been held for much of the past year.

In mid-December, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated that more than 5,000 people had been killed in Syria since last March — mostly at the hands of government forces. Since then, the violence has continued. And over the weekend, according to witness reports, more than 200 people died in the city of Homs.

Meanwhile, Russia and China have blocked a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the violence and urging Syrian President Bashar Assad to step aside.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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