Australia has expelled Syria’s top diplomat over the “hideous and brutal” killings at Houla, leading the way for the international community’s response to condemn the action of the current regime.

Two of Syria’s senior representatives were given 72 hours to leave the country, Australia Foreign Minister Bob Carr said. Jawday Ali, Syria’s chargé d’affaires, was declared persona non grata, formally severing Canberra’s relations with Syria. Expulsions in developed countries such as US, Germany, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Paris are underway.

Australia urged other nations to take part in sending “a clear message to Damascus” that they are “appalled at a regime that could connive in or organize the execution, the killing of men, women and children”, Carr said. Relations with Syria will remain cut off until it abides by the UN ceasefire and pursue the implementation of the Annan plan.

US state department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said that the US holds “the Syrian government responsible for this slaughter of innocent lives”. The killings in Houla is one of the worst atrocities since revolutions broke out to topple Assad’s regime.

Russia and China, on the contrary, stressed their stance against military intervention and vetoed the resolutions that would sanction Syria.