Rabat: The Arab world called for urgent
action to protect Syrian civilians from an eight-month protest crackdown, giving President Bashar al-Assad three days to halt the "bloody repression."
That came as a raid by army defectors on a military base
highlighted the scale of the challenge to Assad at home,
prompting the United States to warn that violence by the
opposition is playing into his regime`s hands.
Despite Syrian promises to the contrary, the embassies of
Morocco and the United Arab Emirates in Damascus were attacked
by pro-Assad crowds on Wednesday.
With the foreign ministers in Rabat saying yesterday that
their patience had run out, the Arab League gave the Assad
regime three days to halt violence or face economic sanctions,
Qatar`s prime minister said.
The 22-member League is "giving the Syrian government
three days to stop the bloody repression" of its civilian
population, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told a news
conference after a meeting of member states in Rabat.
"But if Damascus does not agree to cooperate with the
League, sanctions will be adopted against Syria," he said,
adding that the Arab states had "almost reached the end of the
line" with Damascus.
"I don`t want to speak about last chances so (the regime)
doesn`t think it is being given an ultimatum but we are almost
at the end of the line," he said.
Syria was suspended by the League at the weekend, and
refused to turn up at the meeting, which was also attended by
Turkey, its northern neighbour.
In a statement after what was labelled the Turkish-Arab
cooperation forum, ministers declared they were "against all
foreign intervention" but said it was time for urgent measures.
"The forum declares that it is necessary to stop the
bloodshed and to spare Syrian citizens from new acts of
violence and killing, and demands that urgent measures are
taken to ensure the protection of civilians," a statement
"Ministers also stressed the importance of Syria`s
stability and unity and the need to find a resolution to the
crisis without any foreign intervention," it added.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said
it was "not surprising" that the opposition is resorting to