Several Western nations hardened their protest against Syria on Tuesday, May 29, expelling senior diplomats over the massacre of more than 100 people there, many of them children, last weekend, The New York Times
reported. Their coordinated action came as the United Nations special envoy, Kofi Annan, was meeting with President Bashar Assad in the capital, Damascus, to shore up an apparently failing cease-fire. The effort by countries including Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, Italy and Canada to expel the senior Syrian diplomatic officials appeared timed to underscore the extreme isolation of the Syrian government and pressure Assad into honoring the terms of a nearly two-month-old peace plan negotiated by Annan. It followed comments by the chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff warning that continued atrocities could make military intervention more likely.