News / Middle East

Syria Faces Growing Isolation for Crackdown

Syrian refugees who fled the violence in Syria speak to Reuters TV at their temporary home in Amman, Jordan, November 14, 2011.
Syrian refugees who fled the violence in Syria speak to Reuters TV at their temporary home in Amman, Jordan, November 14, 2011.
Elizabeth Arrott

Syria on Monday called the Arab League decision to suspend its membership illegal, but the reaction likely will do little to stem the growing isolation of the Assad government during its violent crackdown on political dissent.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem called Syria's suspension from the Arab League a very dangerous step that was incited by the United States.

The top Syrian diplomat said his country is implementing an Arab League peace plan to remove its troops from the streets, release political prisoners and engage in dialogue with the opposition.

Syria disputes suspension

He also argued that the charter of the 22-nation league calls for all members to vote for suspension. Yemen and Lebanon voted against the Saturday decision, while Iraq abstained.

Despite the criticism by fellow Arab countries, Moallem expressed confidence that Syria would be protected from wider action against it. He said allies Russia and China would block any international attempt to move against his government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Moscow opposes the Arab League suspension of Syria. China urged Syria to implement the Arab League peace plan.  

Criticism grows lounder

But condemnation of Syria continues to grow beyond the Arab world, after supporters of the Syrian government attacked a number of embassies in Damascus on Saturday and Sunday.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara will take decisive action in response to attacks on its diplomatic missions in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia, and he pledged continued support of the Syrian people in what he called their "rightful struggle."

Nadhim Shehadi, a Syria expert at the research group Chatham House, said the consistency of the message to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is key to ending the government's violent crackdown on dissent.

"The regime had been gaining strength because of the contradictory positions from the international community and from the Arab League and from the regional powers. So, one day they want him to reform. One day they want dialogue. Sometimes they tell him to step aside, and [then] tell him again about dialogue. So all this hesitation gave the regime further strength," said Shehadi.

Eroding support, less dialogue

Shehadi, speaking from Beirut, said the loss of support in the regional alliance Syria helped found will mean more than any sanctions the league is threatening.

"What we should look for is more eroding the legitimacy, rather than eroding the economy or hitting at certain sectors of the population so that they would turn [against the government], because it is unpredictable how they will turn," said Shehadi.

The Arab League meets Wednesday, the day Syria's suspension is to take effect, to discuss sanctions it might add to those already imposed by Western nations.

The Syrian foreign minister repeated an invitation to league members to come to Damascus before then. League observers say the offer is likely to be turned down.

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

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid