Syria ambassador in London summoned to Foreign Office

Syria demo in London
Image caption Demonstrations against the Syrian regime have taken place in London

Syria's ambassador in London has been summoned to the Foreign Office after claims a diplomat had been intimidating Syrians living in the UK.

The Foreign Office said ambassador Sami Khiyami was called to see its Middle East director Christian Turner.

The move came after media reports that Syrians who took part in demonstrations received phone calls and home visits.

It is understood police have received no complaints about intimidation in the UK by members of the Syrian embassy.

'Respond swiftly'

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Mr Turner made clear our strong concerns about the media allegations that a diplomat at the Syrian embassy has been intimidating Syrians in Britain.

"Any such activity would amount to a clear breach of acceptable behaviour. If such claims were substantiated, the Foreign Office would respond swiftly and appropriately."

According to the reports, Syrians who took part in anti-government protests in the UK claim they were photographed by embassy staff before being contacted.

Some allege that Syrian secret police visited relatives in their homeland with copies of the photos, warning them to ensure those in the UK stopped taking part in demonstrations.

Peaceful transition

In Syria, dissidents have met publicly for the first time in the capital Damascus to discuss the current crisis in the country.

There were calls for an end to the government's brutal crackdown on protesters and for a peaceful transition to democracy.

The event took place after Syrian government officials said they would not object.

Afterwards, the opposition was invited to joint talks to discuss the framework for a national dialogue conference.

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