Houla bodies Syria
The bodies of people whom anti-government protesters say were killed by government security forces lie on the ground in Houla, near Homs on May 26, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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An honorary consul of Syria in the United States resigned on Wednesday in protest over the massacre of more than 100 civilians in the Syrian town of Houla over the weekend.

Hazem Chehabi, a U.S. citizen and a businessman based in Orange County, California, held the post for nearly 20 years, working on passports and other matters.

"You get to a point where your silence or your inaction becomes ethically and morally unacceptable," Chehabi, Syria's Honorary Consul General in California, told NPR's Morning Edition.

"The recent barbaric massacre that took place in the town of Houla, for me it was a tipping point and was a point beyond which one could not justify remaining silent and/or remaining in a position that may be perceived, correctly or incorrectly, as having ties to the Syrian government," he added, according to a transcript of the remarks.

Chehabi's resignation followed a U.S. move to expel Syria's top diplomat in Washington on Tuesday after what it described as the "despicable" massacre.

"His family, including his father, are a very well known part of the establishment," Ammar Kahf, a spokesman for the activist group Syrian-American Council, told Reuters. "He was known to have a close relationship with Syrian President Bashar Assad."

Chehabi's father was the chief of staff for the military under Assad's father, Hafez Assad, Kahf told Reuters.