Arab League to Syria: Stop Violence in Three Days or Else...
The Arab League confirmed Syria’s suspension from the organization on Wednesday and gave its government three days to stop the violence against protesters or face economic sanctions.
Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim told reporters following the day-long meeting in Rabat, Morocco, that Syria is being offered a chance to end the violence against civilians and implement a peace plan outlined by the Arab League on November 2.
“The Syrian government has to sign the protocol sent by the Arab League and end all violence against demonstrators,” bin Jassim was quoted by The Associated Press as having said.
He added that Syria has three days to do so and added that “economic sanctions are certainly possible, if the Syrian government does not respond. But we are conscious that such sanctions would touch the Syrian people.”
He declined to give any details about possible economic sanctions against Syria, if it refuses the observer mission. The Al-Arabiya television network suggested, however, that these sanctions would likely take place in coordination with Turkey and include the energy sector.
The protocol calls for an observer mission of 30 to 50 members under the auspices of the Arab League to ensure that Syria is following the Arab plan, which calls for Bashar al-Assad’s regime to halt its attacks on protesters, pull tanks and armored vehicles out of cities, release political prisoners, and allow journalists and rights groups into the country.
The Arab League also demanded the withdrawal of Syria’s representative to the organization, AP reported.
“In the light of insulting and undiplomatic words of the permanent Syrian representative, the Arab League is asking the Syrian government to withdraw its representative,” the League said in a statement, without identifying the behavior in question.
The Assad government, meanwhile, remains unfazed by the continued violence. More than 70 people were killed in Syria on Tuesday alone, in what observers said was one of the bloodiest days of Assad's eight-month crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
A total of 34 soldiers and 12 suspected army deserters were killed in clashes, as well as 27 civilians shot dead by security forces in the regime's intensifying crackdown.
Meanwhile, the opposition is fighting back, and Syrian army defectors attacked an intelligence complex on the edge of Damascus early on Wednesday morning.
It was the first reported assault on a major security facility in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.