News / Middle East

Assad Supporters Protest Arab League Vote

Pro-Syrian regime protesters, carry a giant Syrian flag during a demonstration against the Arab League decision to suspend Syria, in Damascus, Syria, November 13, 2011.
Pro-Syrian regime protesters, carry a giant Syrian flag during a demonstration against the Arab League decision to suspend Syria, in Damascus, Syria, November 13, 2011.

Supporters of Syria's government are rallying in major cities in a second day of protests against an Arab League decision to suspend Syria's membership, while Syria has called for an emergency meeting of the regional organization.

Syrian state television broadcast images of large pro-government crowds in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities on Sunday. Many of the demonstrators waved Syrian flags and held pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Arab League voted a day earlier to suspend Syria beginning on Wednesday if the Assad government continues to ignore the bloc's call to engage in dialogue with the opposition and end a violent crackdown on the eight-month-old revolt.

The Syrian government on Sunday called for an urgent Arab League meeting to address the crisis before its suspension takes effect.

Several nations have condemned the Assad loyalists who stormed the Damascus embassies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey late Saturday after the Arab League vote.  Saudi Arabia and Qatar were among the 18 league members that voted to suspend Syria from the 22-member body.

Turkey, while not a league member, has spoken out strongly against its neighbor's deadly crackdown against protesters.  The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Syria's charge d'affaires on Sunday to protest the attacks on its diplomatic missions. It also started to evacuate the families of Turkish diplomats in Syria.

Saudi Arabia condemned the assault on its embassy in Damascus and said it holds Syrian authorities responsible for the security of all Saudi interests in the country.

The official Saudi Press Agency said protesters threw stones at the embassy building, smashed windows and ransacked offices. A crowd also broke through the gates at Qatar's embassy, removing the country's flag and replacing it with a Syrian one.

The French news agency says quotes a diplomat who says demonstrators also tried to enter the French embassy in Syria but did not succeed.

Syria agreed to the Arab League plan for dialogue on November 2 but more than 150 people have been killed since then.  The violence has included attacks by the security forces on anti-Assad protesters and fighting between Syria's military and army defectors.

The Arab League vote to suspend Syria drew praise from the United Nations, the United States and Britain. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the move "strong and courageous," adding 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."

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 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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs