The Arab League has given Syria an ultimatum: end the violence, or face sanctions. But can sanctions sway a government already under heavy pressure?
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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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