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The head of the Syrian Olympic Committee has been refused a visa to travel to London for the Games, it has been reported.

There had been suggestions for months that General Mowaffak Joumaa would be barred from entering the UK because of his connection to the Syrian military.

Due to his links to the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad, the application has been refused, according to the BBC.

The Home Office said: "We are not commenting on individual cases."

A recent spike in violence by the forces of President Assad's regime has been seen in the troubled Middle East state.

The Home Office is responsible for carrying out background checks on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and advises the committee on whether an applicant is suitable for accreditation.


Exclusion decisions also have involvement from the Foreign Office. Particular interest would be shown in visitors from countries where there are human rights abuses. Officials are expected to keep a close eye on Syria.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has compared the recent massacres in Syria to those in Bosnia in the 1990s while Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the killings as "brutal and sickening".

The Syrian charge d'affaires in London has already been expelled in the wake of mounting condemnation of the attacks. Britain has condemned the regime for its crackdown on opponents.

It is thought that Syrian athletes may receive visas because those of Olympic standard are not required to serve in the armed forces, but there is a question mark against General Joumaa and other officials.

The Press Association, photo by Aby Paraecattil