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Arab League threatens sanctions on Syria (video)

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Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP

(Read caption) Arab League members, with from left to right at front, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Morocco's Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri, Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim and Egyptian's Nabil Al Arabi, president of the Arab League, are seen as they attend the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Rabat, Morocco, Wednesday, Nov. 16.

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A day after the Arab League formally suspended Syria's membership, the regional bloc has thrown down another ultimatum: End the violence and allow international observers into Syria in the next three days, or face economic sanctions.

Qatari Prime Minister Hamas bin Jasim al-Thani said yesterday that the Arab League would not wait long to see if the suspension alone made a difference in President Bashar al-Assad's behavior, according to Bloomberg. “We shall stop wasting time,” he said. “If there aren’t any effective measures immediately to stop the killing and release detainees, sanctions will be imposed.”

Although Mr. Assad released more than 1,000 political prisoners on Tuesday, apparently in an attempt to dissuade the Arab League from suspending Syria on Wednesday, the Syrian Army made sweeping arrests once again today, according to the Associated Press.

But the violence is taking on a new form more akin to civil war than a one-sided crackdown. The Free Syrian Army, made up of defectors from the actual Army, has more than 25,000 officers and soldiers, according to Bloomberg. Members have started attacking Syrian military targets regularly, killing at least 34 government soldiers this week alone.


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