The Arab League has voted to suspend Syria, effective from Wednesday. The move is a much tougher response than many had expected to the ongoing human rights crisis in Syria, and adds to the international pressure on President Bashar Assad to step down.
Meeting in an emergency session in Cairo, the 22 members of the Arab League voted to exclude Syria until a peace deal is implemented that ends the massive bloodshed that has rocked the country for much of the year. Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad Al Thani says that Syrian opposition groups will be invited to discuss a possible transition process with the Arab League.
It’s unclear how President Assad will respond to the Arab League’s move, and some observers have warned that the exclusion is an empty show of force that will have little or no impact. Nevertheless, Assad is now under pressure from all his former international allies. With the recent death of Muammar Gaddafi, the world’s attention has turned to Syria and Yemen.