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Protestors storm Syria embassy in Australia


Protestors stormed Syria's Australian embassy and trashed its lower level, as the Syrian opposition said troops had killed more than 260 people in shelling the city of Homs, police said Sunday.

Australian police said a "number of men forced entry" to the Syrian embassy in Canberra on Saturday evening and "caused extensive damage to the ground floor" of the building.

Three diplomatic staff present at the time barricaded themselves in a back room according to media reports, which said as many as 40 people were involved in overrunning the embassy.

Police were alerted to the incident by a phone call from embassy staff but said the group dispersed before officers arrived.

"We are obviously concerned about it and three staff members from the embassy were present when the men forced entry. However, no one was injured," said superintendent Mick Calatzis.

The attack on the embassy follows similar incidents in Athens, Berlin, Cairo, Kuwait and London as news spread of the Homs shelling on Saturday, which the Syrian opposition said had claimed the lives of 260 civilians.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said about 100 women and children were among the 237 in its toll. It was the heaviest reported day of death since the Syrian uprising began 10 months ago.

Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd denounced the attack as "tantamount to a war crime" and urged the United Nations to pass a resolution calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.

Russia and China blocked attempts in the UN Security Council to condemn Syria for its crackdown on protests, drawing strong condemnation from Western and Arab powers.