11/14/2011, 00.00
SYRIA
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Damascus: emergency summit and concessions to avoid Arab League suspension

The Assad government in trouble after suspension vote, due to take effect Nov. 16. Yesterday large pro-regime demonstrations and attacks on the embassies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. More deaths over the weekend in clashes between security forces and opponents.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Syria has asked for an emergency summit of Arab League Member States after the decision to suspend Damascus from the organisation. Yesterday, a Syrian government official called for a summit to "address the crisis Syrian and observe its negative repercussions on the Arab situation." The statement called on the Arab League Ministerial Committee to travel to Syria before November 16, accompanied by "any observer or expert, military or civilian, considered appropriate, from member countries or Arab media, in order to investigate what is happening and to oversee implementation of the Arab initiative in cooperation with the Syrian government".

There was no immediate response from the League. The Secretary-General Nabil al-Aarab, on a visit to Libya, has called for the immediate application of the Arab Peace Initiative. Syria’s suspension from the Arab League takes effect on November 16. Damascus fears a similar outcome to that of Tripoli: Libya's suspension from the Arab League helped the UN Security Council to agree to support the NATO intervention that led to the end of the Gaddafi regime. The Secretary General of the League has announced that the organization officials will meet Syrian opposition figures in the coming days.

Yesterday large demonstrations in favor of the government were held in major Syrian cities (see photo). And several hundred people attacked the embassies of Syria and Qatar and Turkey to Damascus, and Turkey and France consulates in Latakia and Aleppo, before police intervened. Ankara is organizing the repatriation of all non-essential staff of its diplomatic missions, and considers the possibility of applying its own round of sanctions on Damascus.

Meanwhile, violence continues across the country. The opposition sources say that over the weekend at least 11 people died in clashes with security forces in different Syrian locations, particularly in Hama, one of the most active opposition centres. According to the United Nations more than 3,500 people have died since the beginning of protests in Syria, in March.

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