Anti-Assad rally
Photo: Reuters
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Photo: AFP

Syria ignores Arab League deadline, risks new sanctions

Damascus snubs Arab League's demand to accept international observers, stop brutal crackdown on protesters. Turkey fears Syria concealing humanitarian crisis

Syria has ignored an Arab League deadline to accept international observers to oversee an initiative aimed at ending a violent crackdown on anti-government protests.


Arab League officials said on Friday that if Syrian President Bashar Assad failed to respond to the League's proposal, its foreign ministers would meet on Saturday to discuss imposing additional sanctions on the rogue regime.


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The Arab League suspended Syria's membership two weeks ago over Damascus' violent crackdown on dissent and its failure to implement the League's plan to end the unrest, Voice of America reported.


Meanwhile, the Syrian military reported on Friday that "terrorists" killed six of its pilots and three other officers near Homs.


The United Nations believed more than 3,500 people have been killed since the anti-Assad protest began in March.


Protester in anti-Assad rally (Photo: AP)


The UN Committee against Torture said Friday that is had been receiving reports of widespread abuses in Syria, including the torture of children detained by security forces.


Syria concealing humanitarian crisis?

Syria's failure to respond to the Arab League's ultimatum has also raises concerns Damascus is trying to conceal a worsening humanitarian situation, Turkish officials said.


"Syria was expected to yes to the observers... unless there is a reality it hides about the situation in Syrian cities," Ankara's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency after the deadline's expiry.


"As it said no, it increased... the concerns on the humanitarian situation," he said.


Humanitarian organizations and journalists have had very little access to much of Syria since the regime started cracking down on protesters.


"We think it is now vital to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people... and the bloodshed," Davutoglu said at a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh.


Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jordan's King Abdullah have both called on Assad to quit over the violence.


Turkey has been increasingly strident in its criticism of the regime in neighboring Syria, once a close ally, and has already halted joint oil exploration and threatened to cut electricity supplies.


But despite the strong rhetoric, Turkish deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said Ankara ruled out any military intervention.


"We are absolutely opposed to any intervention in Syria and reject any operation that would involve Turkey against this country," Arinc told journalists on Thursday.





פרסום ראשון: 11.26.11, 13:50
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