Syria declared on Tuesday that the ambassadors and staff of 17 Western countries were persona non grata, in an official statement from the foreign ministry.
"Some states recently informed heads of our diplomatic missions and embassy staff that they are unwelcome," the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding Syria was now designating the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and Turkey, among others, as persona non grata, AFP news reported.
Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi announced the list of expelled diplomats includes the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Swiss, Spain, Germany and Italy as well as commercial attaches from Belgium, Bulgaria and Canada.
Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told SANA news: "We hope that those countries which initiated this step will adopt the same principles, allowing for relations to be normalized."
On the ground, Syrian regime's forces bombed and raided several towns across the country, killing at least six people. Among others the Syrian army stormed the town of Kafarzita in the province of Hama (center) after three days of bombing, reported the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR).
In addition, the regime's forces bombed several locations including the rebel city of Homs and fought the Free Syrian Army rebels (FSA) in the Latakia region (northwest).
At Idleb, near the Turkish border, four civilians were killed and others were seriously injured during a "major military operation" conducted during the night in the town of Kafroueid.
For its part, Turkey announced that more than 2,000 Syrians fleeing violence in their country arrived in Turkey over the last three days. The number of Syrian refugees in camps set up in southern Turkey reached on Tuesday to 26,747, up from less than 24.433 on Saturday.
In related news, Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister said in an interview with the ITAR-TASS news agency that the “Yemen model” of settling the crisis in Syria is not applicable to it because of the opposition’s unwillingness to enter into talks with the government.
“All foreign players, who are involved in the situation, must work in one direction, being mutually complimentary," the diplomat stressed.
"Russia is prepared to meet its international partners to discuss various ways of facilitating Annan’s settlement plan for Syria, including boosting the efficiency of the U.N. observer mission," the diplomat added.
Meanwhile, at the diplomatic level, a delegation of the U.S. State Department headed by the Secretary's special adviser on Syria, Fred Hoff, is welling to visit Russia this week to hold talks about Syrian issue, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Moreover, Russianbegan a three-day visit to China, partly devoted to the crisis in Syria. Moscow and Beijing, the closest allies of Damascus, have been opposing any military action against Syria and the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.