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Saturday 19 November 2011

Arab League suspends Syria,,15528504,00.html?maca=en-newsletter_en_Newsline-2356-html-newsletter

ARAB WORLD | 12.11.2011

Arab League suspends Syria


The Arab League has suspended Syria's membership. The decision comes after a week of violence in which Syrian troops are said to have killed at least 125 people in the city of Homs.

The Arab League has suspended Syria from all meetings in response to Damascus' violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Qatar's foreign minister said 18 countries had agreed to the decision, which was taken on Saturday at an emergency meeting of the League in Cairo. He said Lebanon, Yemen and Syria voted against the move, and Iraq abstained.
He said the suspension would begin on Wednesday.
Implementation of sanctions
In a statement, the League said it had also decided to implement "economic and political sanctions against the Syrian government," and called for the withdrawal of Arab ambassadors from Damascus.
The suspension is to continue until Damascus implements a plan to end violence in the country.
International applause
Both the European Union and the United States have welcomed the League's decision.
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told AFP news agency that the bloc welcomed "the Arab League's offer to end the violence and bring about the reforms that the Syrian people have bravely demanded over the last few months."
US President Barack Obama said in a written statement that his country "join[ed] with the Arab League in its support for the Syrian people, who continue to demand their universal rights in the face of the regime's callous violence."
Syria has called the suspension illegal.
"Crimes against humanity"
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been carrying out a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests that erupted eight months ago.
Protesters in SyriaProtesters have long called for action by the LeagueThe United Nations says that 3,500 people have so far been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters.
The New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also accused Syrian government forces of committing crimes against humanity.
In a report released on Friday calling for a suspension of Syria from the Arab League, HRW said the crimes included torture, killings and forced disappearances in the province of Homs. It said government troops had killed at least 587 civilians in Homs between mid-April and the end of August, and that many hundreds were still missing.
Crackdown "intensified"
HRW said at least 125 people had been killed in the city of Homs since November 2. Homs has emerged as the most restive province in the country since the outbreak of protests in mid-March.
Assad's regime had agreed on November 2 to an Arab League roadmap that called for the release of detainees, the withdrawal of the army from urban areas, free movement for observers and the media, and negotiations with the opposition.
However, human rights groups say the regime has only intensified its crackdown on dissent since then.
Author: Timothy Jones (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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