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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid