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Image: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II; the Ambassador of Syria, Sami Khiyami
Fiona Hanson  /  AFP - Getty Images file
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II receives the Ambassador of Syria, Sami Khiyami, at Buckingham Palace, London, on March 3, 2005.
NBC News and news services
updated 4/28/2011 3:04:53 PM ET 2011-04-28T19:04:53

Britain announced Thursday it had revoked a royal wedding invitation to the Syrian ambassador because of violent attacks on protesters by the regime there.

Human rights groups had criticized the decision to invite Ambassador Sami Khiyami to Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials at Westminster Abbey.

Slideshow: Who’s invited to the royal wedding? (on this page)

More than 450 people have been killed since last month in the uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime, with 120 dead over the weekend, according to the U.N.

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The government said ambassadors from all countries with which Britain has "normal diplomatic relations" had been invited to the wedding — some 185 in all.

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But the Foreign Office said Thursday that "in the light of this week's attacks against civilians by the Syrian security forces, which we have condemned, the Foreign Secretary has decided that the presence of the Syrian ambassador at the royal wedding would be unacceptable and that he should not attend."

"Buckingham Palace shares the view of the Foreign Office that it is not considered appropriate for the Syrian Ambassador to attend the wedding," the spokesman added.

Video: Violent crackdown on Syrian protests continues (on this page)

Prime Minister David Cameron's office said he also endorsed the decision.

The Syrian Embassy in London said it was not immediately able to comment.

NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: Guest list

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  1. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip

    Following the royal wedding ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II – married to Prince Phillip – will host a reception for the couple at Buckingham Palace, with guests drawn from the wedding congregation. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

    Prince Charles – married to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – will host a dinner and dancing for Prince William and Kate Middleton and their close friends in the evening, royal officials confirmed. He will be expected to provide the food and the wine and to make a heartfelt toast.
    Of the bride, Camilla said, “Kate’s a lovely girl … We’re very lucky. I’m very much looking forward to the wedding.” (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Princess Anne

    Princess Anne is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip and is the only member of the British royal family to have competed in the Olympics, in equestrian events. Her daughter, Zara Phillips, will wed this summer. (Julian Herbert / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Prince Andrew, Duke of York

    Prince Andrew is the third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and the former husband of Sarah Ferguson, who was not invited to the royal wedding. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex

    Prince Edward is the fourth child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and is married to Sophie Rhys-Jones, Countess of Wessex, a former public relations manager. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Lady Louise Windsor

    Princess Louise of Wessex, commonly known as Lady Louise Windsor, 7, is the elder child of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

    Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and her first husband, Mark Phillips, will wed the captain of England's rugby team, Mike Tindall, on July 30 in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Phillips was considered the rebel of the royal family as a teenager before following in her mother's footsteps to enjoy a successful horse riding career. (Carl De Souza / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

    Princess Beatrice and her sister Princess Eugenie are the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, the Duke and Duchess of York. (Shaun Curry / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy

    Prince Harry has conducted an on-again, off-again relationship with law student Chelsy Yvonne Davy since 2004. Davy made headlines in 2009 when it was reported that she announced a split with Prince Harry on Facebook. (Ben Stansall / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Tom Parker Bowles

    Tom Parker Bowles is the son of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and a well-known food writer and cookbook author. In 2005, he married Sara Buys, a fashion features editor, and their wedding was attended by Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Prince William. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Charles, Earl Spencer

    Charles Spencer, the ninth Earl Spencer, is the late Princess Diana's brother and an author and journalist. According to the U.K.’s Mirror, Prince William’s uncle will reportedly offer a royal wedding travel package for tourists at his Althorp estate, where Princess Diana is buried.
    In February, Charles announced his engagement to a Canadian charity worker. The wedding, Spencer's third marriage, will take place just a few weeks after the royal wedding. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Princess Diana's sister

    Lady Sarah McCorquodale is an older sister of the late Princess Diana and was her unofficial lady-in-waiting. According to the London Evening Standard, Sarah will attend Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding wearing the diamond earrings that were the "something borrowed" worn by Diana at her wedding nearly 30 years ago. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Lady Jane Fellows, Princess Diana's sister

    Lady Jane Fellows is an older sister of the late Princess Diana and is known as the quieter and more reserved member of her family. (Lewis Whyld / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Michael and Carole Middleton

    Michael and Carole Middleton are the parents of Prince William's fiancee, Kate. The Middletons live in the village of Bucklebury in Berkshire, England, and run a successful mail order business. (Stefan Rousseau / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Pippa Middleton and James Middleton

    Philippa Charlotte “Pippa” Middleton and James Middleton are Kate’s younger siblings. (Danny Martindale / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Jecca Craig

    Jecca Craig is a close friend of Prince William’s. The two were rumored to have dated during William’s 2000-2001 gap year. (Indigo / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Syrian Ambassador Sami Khiyami

    Syrian Ambassador Sami Khiyami, seen here with Queen Elizabeth in 2005, was originally invited to the royal wedding, but one day before the nuptials the UK Foreign Office withdrew the invite. Human rights groups had criticized the invitation following violent attacks on protesters by Syrian security forces. (Afp / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Bogoda Seelawimala

    The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala is head priest at London's Buddhist Vihara temple. Seelawimala has never met Prince William or Kate Middleton, and has been invited primarily to show the royal family and the British government's respect for Buddhist tradition. (Sang Tan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako

    Crown Prince Naruhito is the first son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan. Princess Masako is his wife. (Toru Yamanaka / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Emirati Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan

    Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. (Marwan Naamani / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Laura Lopes, Duchess of Cornwall's daughter

    Laura Lopes is the daughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and manager of a London art gallery. In 2006, she married accountant Harry Marcus George Lopes and their wedding was attended by Kate Middleton. (Stuart Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Queen Sonja and King Harald V

    Queen Sonja and King Harald V of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg are the queen and king of Norway. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Prince Daniel and Crown Princess Victoria

    Prince Daniel is the Duke of Västergötland is married to Crown Princess Victoria, the heiress-apparent to the Swedish throne. (Getty Images / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. King Abdullah II

    Abdullah II bin al-Hussein is the reigning King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

    Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is the King of Bahrain. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud

    Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud is the King of Saudi Arabia. (Hassan Ammar / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Bandar Seri Begawan

    Bandar Seri Begawan is the Sultan of Brunei. (Christopher Furlong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Sultan Qaboos bin Said

    Sultan Qaboos bin Said is the Sultan of Oman. (Mohammed Mahjoub / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Jonathan Sacks

    Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. (David Levenson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Prime Minister David Cameron

    David Cameron is the current prime minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron assumed the office in 2010. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. David Beckham and Victoria Beckham

    Professional soccer player David Beckham and wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, became friends with Prince William and Kate Middleton in the wake of Prince William’s unsuccessful campaign to hold the 2018 World Cup in England. David Beckham was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying of the impending nuptials, “A royal wedding will be fantastic for the whole country.” (Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Sam Branson and Holly Branson

    The children of Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson, Sam and Holly Branson are longtime friends of Princes William and Harry. The Bransons’ private island, Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, is rumored to be a possible honeymoon destination for the royal newlyweds-to-be. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Claire Jones

    Claire Jones is the official harpist to the Prince of Wales. (Dominic Lipinski / Abaca) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Sir Elton John

    The beloved singer-songwriter and international pop star was a close friend of the late Princess Diana. Until recently, John was very coy about whether he was planning on attending the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Queen Elizabeth II Visits Canada - Day 3
    Chris Jackson / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (34) Who’s invited to the royal wedding? - Guest list
  2. Mario Testino / Art Partner
    Slideshow (27) Who’s invited to the royal wedding? - Royal courtship
  3. Image: The Dean of Westminster Abbey, John Hall, walks through Westminster Abbey, in central
    Toby Melville / Reuters
    Slideshow (15) Who’s invited to the royal wedding? - Westminster Abbey
  4. Image: Kate Middleton
    Joel Ryan / AP
    Slideshow (44) Who’s invited to the royal wedding? - Preparations

Video: Violent crackdown on Syrian protests continues

  1. Closed captioning of: Violent crackdown on Syrian protests continues

    >>> in syria tonight, the situation took another serious turn as president assad send tanks into the streets of a damascus suborn and 200 members of the ruling baath party quit their posts in protest. as you may know, this is tough to get in there and cover. syria has cut off media access. richard engle is monitoring this situation from libya. good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, brian. despite threats of a u.n. investigation and growing international condemnation, this crackdown in syria by bashar assad 's regime shows no signs of letting up. the syrian army has mobilized to crush the biggest internal threat to the syrian regime in decades. witnesses say troops and tanks have fanned out in damascus, reenforcements have moved into dara, the center of the protests. these unverified images show armed men, apparently soldiers. syria remains closed off to most journalists. one syrian cameraman fled to neighboring jordan. the videos on his laptop show protesters tearing down images of the serious president and police beating protesters. via skype, we spoke to an activist in syria .

    >> you can hear shooting, voices calling for help. no food, no water. because they targeted the water tanks. many dead bodies in the street, and the people cannot get them from the street because the shooting.

    >> reporter: and in syria , past crackdowns still cast a long shadow. in 1982 , bashar's father violently put down a revolt by muslim activists in the city of homa. an estimated 10,000 to 40,000 people were killed. that crackdown by the syrian president 's father was one of the deadliest acts of repression in the history of the modern arab world . there are fears now of a similar atrocity taking place, and that's why there's so much concern.

    >> richard, thank you for that.

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