News / Middle East

    Arab League Moves to Suspend Syria Over Crackdown

    Yussef Ahmed, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, looks on during the body's emergency session on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, November 12, 2011.
    Yussef Ahmed, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, looks on during the body's emergency session on Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, November 12, 2011.
    Elizabeth Arrott

    The Arab League has voted to suspend Syria four days from now if it fails to adhere to an initiative to end a crackdown on anti-government protests.

    Arab League members voted overwhelmingly for Syria's suspension and to impose both political and economic sanctions on Wednesday, unless Syria lives up to its promises.  Qatari Foreign Minister Hamid bin Jassim al Thani said the decision was made because of Syria's lack of complete and immediate implementation of the league's peace plan.  

    The Qatari diplomat, speaking after a meeting at league headquarters in Cairo Saturday, said it would be up to member states to decide whether to withdraw their envoys from Damascus as well.

    Syria's ambassador to the league, Yousef Ahmed, rejected the decision as illegal and against the league charter. He called it a clear case of the alliance working under an American and Western agenda.   

    Syria's opposition, human-rights groups and amateur video reports indicate the violence has, if anything, only grown worse since November 2, when Damascus agreed to a league plan to pull back its forces from the streets, start a dialogue with the opposition, allow in journalists and monitors, and release all political prisoners.   

    More than 100 people are believed to have been killed in Homs in the past week alone.

    The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have been killed since the uprising began in March.  

    Damascus argues it is battling foreign-backed thugs and terrorists and is merely using its forces to protect civilians. It also points to the recent release of 500 prisoners.  Opposition and rights groups estimate the number still in jail to be in the thousands.    

    Eighteen Arab League members dismissed Syria's arguments, voting for the suspension threat. Syria was joined in opposition only by neighboring Lebanon and Yemen, where the government also faces massive protests. Iraq abstained.  

    The regional bloc had been under increasing pressure from opposition groups to move more strongly against Syria or cede responsibility for action to the United Nations.  

    Qatar's bin Jassim al Thani continued to rule out a call for international intervention, in particular speaking against a no-fly zone, as was imposed on another league member, Libya. He argued that, for now, dialogue between the Syrian government and its opponents is the answer.  

    "The Syrians have to decide for themselves, not us. We are trying to prepare the [climate] where they can talk together seriously and quickly to reach a solution for the dilemma in Syria, but we cannot talk on their behalf."  

    But he added that depending on Syria's response, the league will hold a further meeting in Morocco on November 16 to decide its next step to find an end to the violence.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.