News / Middle East

Assad Supporters Storm Saudi, Qatar Embassies

Pro-Syrian regime protesters, gather and shout slogans against the Arab  League as they throw tomatoes at the Qatari embassy during a protest, in Damascus, Syria, November 12, 2011.
Pro-Syrian regime protesters, gather and shout slogans against the Arab League as they throw tomatoes at the Qatari embassy during a protest, in Damascus, Syria, November 12, 2011.

Syrian government loyalists have stormed the Saudi and Qatar embassies in Damascus, angered that both nations supported an Arab League decision to suspend Syria's membership for continuing a deadly crackdown on an opposition uprising.

Saudi Arabia condemned Saturday's assault on its embassy in the Syrian capital, saying it holds Damascus responsible for the security of all Saudi interests in the country. The official Saudi Press Agency says anti-Arab League protesters threw stones at the embassy building, smashed windows and ransacked offices. A large crowd also gathered outside Qatar's embassy and broke through the gates.

Syrian state media say thousands of government supporters rallied in Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia and other cities on Saturday to protest the Arab League vote, which came earlier in the day. Many of the demonstrators waved Syrian flags and held pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Arab League voted to suspect Syria beginning Wednesday if the Assad government continues to ignore an Arab League plan calling for dialogue with the opposition and an end to the violent crackdown on the eight-month old revolt.

Syria signed on to the plan on November 2, but the violence has escalated, with more than 100 people killed in attacks by security forces on anti-Assad protesters and in deadly battles between the military and army defectors.

The Arab League vote drew praise from the United Nations, the United States and Britain. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the move "strong and courageous" and welcomed the league's intention to provide protection for Syrian civilians. Mr. Ban said the world body is "ready to provide the relevant support when requested."

U.S. President Barack Obama said the Arab League decision increases the diplomatic isolation of a government that has "flagrantly failed to keep its commitments" and "systematically violated human rights and repressed peaceful protests."

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated a call by Western powers for Assad to step down after 11 years in power and allow a political transition to begin.

In its vote Saturday, the Arab League also called on Arab states to withdraw their ambassadors from Syria and consider economic sanctions on the country. Saudi Arabia pulled its envoy out of Damascus in August in protest at the crackdown.

Syria's ambassador to the league, Youssef Ahmed, rejected the vote as illegal and contrary to the organization's charter. He said the Syrian government remains committed to fulfilling the Arab League peace plan.

The U.N. human rights agency says at least 3,500 people have been killed in Syria in connection with anti-Assad protests, which have been under way since March. Syria blames much of the deadly violence on foreign-backed "terrorists" and extremists.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid