Syria calls for emergency Arab League summit

Meeting would discuss "negative repercussions" of unrest; 4 dead in violence after League decides to suspend Syria.

November 13, 2011 14:54
2 minute read.
Syrians shout slogans in support of protesters

Syrians shout slogans in protests 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer )


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AMMAN - Syria is calling for an emergency summit of Arab League heads of state to discuss unrest in the country, state television said on Sunday, a day after the League suspended Syria for its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Quoting an official source, the television said the objective of the proposed summit would be to discuss the unrest's "negative repercussions on the Arab situation".

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Scenes of violence and chaos followed Saturday's announcement. Security forces shot dead four people who shouted slogans against President Bashar al-Assad at a rally organized by the authorities in the city of Hama on Sunday to show popular anger at an Arab League decision to suspend Syria, local activists said.

"Security forces were leading public workers and students into Orontes Square when groups broke away and started shouting 'the people want the fall of the regime'," one of the activists in Hama, 240 km north of Damascus, said.

"They escaped into the alleyways but were followed, and four were killed," the activist added.

State television said millions of Syrians assembled in public arenas across the country to denounce the Arab League decision, which came in response to a crackdown by Assad's forces on pro-democracy protesters, which the United Nations says has killed 3,500 people.

Syrian officials blame the unrest on "terrorists" and foreign backed Islamist militants and say that 1,100 soldiers and police have been killed.

The television showed crowds carrying Syrian flags and posters of Assad at public squares in Damascus, the eastern city of Raqqa and the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous.

Syrian authorities have banned most independent media since the uprising demanding political freedoms and an end to 41 years of Assad family rule began in March.

The Arab League called on its army to stop killing civilians in a surprise move on Saturday that turned up the heat on President Bashar Assad.

The League will impose economic and political sanctions on Assad's government and has appealed to member states to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus, said Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.

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