Syria kicked out diplomats from 11 countries today, in response to those same 11 countries booting Syrian ambassadors in the wake of the Houla massacre. The ousted countries include the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Canada, CNN reports, though the US ambassador had already left, as had the UK's. Syria's only steadfast defenders are down to Russia and China, and Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing today to discuss the nations' burgeoning partnership, the AP reports.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said today that both nations "oppose external intervention in the Syrian situation and oppose regime change by force." China's state-run newspaper also ran a story urging the international community to support Kofi Annan's peace plan "instead of losing confidence and patience." Annan is set to meet with Hillary Clinton on Friday, sources tell CNN. According to one opposition group, 42 people died in fighting yesterday.