16:35 GMT28 January 2020
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    Arab League adopts Syria sanctions

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    The Arab League approved on Sunday sanctions against Syria in the latest bid to dissuade the Assad regime from its continuing crackdown on dissent.

    The Arab League approved on Sunday sanctions against Syria in the latest bid to dissuade the Assad regime from its continuing crackdown on dissent.

    Nineteen of the regional bloc’s 22 member nations voted in favor of the unprecedented sanctions at a meeting in Cairo.

    Damascus, which is already under U.S. and EU sanctions, denounced the move as a betrayal of Arab solidarity.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem accused the Arab League of trying to “internationalize” the conflict in Syria.

    The body suspended Syria earlier this month.

    There has been mounting international pressure on Syria to end its bloody crackdown on anti-government protests.

    More than 3,500 people are believed to have been killed since the protests against President Bashar al-Assad began in March.

    Speaking at a news conference after the crucial vote, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said the sanctions include cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank and halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria.

    League foreign ministers also voted to impose travel bans and asset freezes on senior Syrian officials.

    “In these decisions we aim at avoiding any sufferings of the Syrian people,” al Jazeera TV quoted Sheikh Hamad as saying. “We want to make sure these decisions are not hitting the Syrian people, whether directly or indirectly.”

    Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria voted against the move.

    Syria’s state-owned Al-Thawra newspaper described the sanctions as “unprecedented” and said they contradicted “the rules of Arab co-operation.”

     

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