Friday 24 February 2017

Arab League imposes sanctions on Syria

Qatar warns that international intervention is 'coming closer'

Richard Spencer in Cairo

Syria, already facing a growing military insurgency, was left isolated after its Arab neighbours voted for an unprecedented package of sanctions.

Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo voted overwhelmingly to carry out their threat to hit financial and transport ties to Damascus after it failed to let in a mission of observers or to alleviate its war on protesters against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Qatar, which has become the Arab world's most prominent voice in support of the 'Arab Spring', warned that international intervention against Mr Assad was coming closer. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the prime minister, said the League's efforts were intended to prevent a repeat of what happened earlier this year in Libya.

"All the work that we are doing is to avoid this interference," he said.

Under the sanctions, regime officials will be banned from travelling to other Arab countries and government bodies will have assets there frozen.

This will make life difficult for regime associates rumoured to have investments -- and escape plans prepared -- in havens such as Dubai.

A particularly severe blow will be the suspension of links to the Central Bank, which will further damage the country's poor liquidity and, with a similar block already in place from the US, will make oil sales difficult. In addition, all trade with the government except food supplies will be stopped.

"We hope the regime puts an end to the massacres so that this resolution authorising sanctions is not put into force," Sheikh Hamad said.

At least seven people were killed by security forces yesterday in the city of Homs, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and 16 more, including a 14-year-old boy, in other parts of the country.

But troops also came under fire from insurgents, with armed clashes near Homs and the southern city of Deraa. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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