The Arab League on Wednesday confirmed the suspension of Syria from the organization and gave its government three days to halt the violence and accept an observer mission or face economic sanctions.
The ministers announced their decisions in a statement after an emergency meeting in Rabat, Morocco.
The suspension — first announced by the Arab League on Saturday and confirmed during the meeting — is a surprisingly harsh and highly unusual move for a member of Syria's standing.
Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim told reporters following the full day meeting that Syria is being offered the chance to end the violence against civilians and implement a peace plan that the Arab League outlined on Nov. 2.
“The Syrian government has to sign the protocol sent by the Arab League and end all violence against demonstrations,” he said, adding that it has three days to do that. “Economic sanctions are certainly possible, if the Syrian government does not respond. But we are conscious that such sanctions would touch the Syrian people.”
The protocol did not specifically say if Syria's suspension from the organization has remained in force, but an official from the Moroccan Foreign Ministry confirmed that is the case. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the media.
The protocol calls for an observer mission of 30-50 members under the auspices of the Arab League to ensure that Syria is following the Arab plan, which called for the regime to halt its attacks on protesters, pull tanks and armored vehicles out of cities, release political prisoners, and allow journalists and rights groups into the country.