German FM Westerwelle with Syrian FM Moallem .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN - Germany has kicked out four Syrian diplomats after the arrest in Berlin earlier this week of two men suspected of spying on Syrian opposition activists in the country, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
"After the arrest of two suspected spies, I have ordered four members of the Syrian embassy in Berlin to be expelled," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.
German prosecutors believe the two men, arrested on Tuesday, had been spying for years for the intelligence services of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Syrian ambassador in Berlin was summoned to the German foreign office on Tuesday. "The German government made its view quite clear once again that such behavior against members of the Syrian opposition was not acceptable in Germany," the foreign ministry said in the statement.
In December, a Green politician for the city of Berlin with a Syrian background, Ferhad Ahma, was beaten up in his flat. He had been involved in activities against Assad's government and several Green lawmakers linked the attack to Syria's secret service.