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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More