Skip to main content

Arab League holds emergency Syria debate

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:40 PM EDT, Sun October 16, 2011
A woman shouts slogans during a demonstration on October 15 in Paris in support of the Syrian people.
A woman shouts slogans during a demonstration on October 15 in Paris in support of the Syrian people.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Syrian security forces kill 11, an opposition group says
  • The Arab League is considering suspending Syria from the body
  • The Syrian ambassador blames foreign influences for the unrest in his country
  • About 3,000 people have died in months of protests against the government

(CNN) -- The Arab League, which held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday about the ongoing unrest in Syria, is considering suspending the country from the organization.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of six Gulf Arab states, is spearheading the motion, which would need two-thirds of the assembly vote to pass.

In his opening remarks, Syrian ambassador Yousef Ahmad blamed foreign influences for the unrest in his country. He cited the influence of Arabic-language news groups, which he said are targeting Syria.

The Arab League meeting comes after more than seven months of protests against the government in Syria in which the United Nations says about 3,000 people have died.

Also Sunday, Syrian security forces set up barricades and carried out raids, according to opposition sources.

Eleven people were killed, said the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) of Syria -- eight in Homs, two in Idlib and one in Zabadani, a Damascus suburb.

Security and military forces were conducting raids and arresting people, apparently at random, in the suburbs of Damascus -- where heavy gunfire was heard -- and in villages around Homs, according to two opposition groups.

There were also general strikes in the city of Daraa, one of the centers of resistance to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the LCC and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Wife: Defector handed to Syria
Living in Turkey as a Syrian refugee
Soldiers defect from Syria

The latter group said security forces fired live bullets at thousands of mourners attending the funeral of activist Ziad al-Obeidi in Dair Elzor on Sunday, which turned into a demonstration demanding the overthrow of the regime.

A group allied with the government, meanwhile, named a number of anti-government activists it said were being paid and organized by agents of the United States and Israel.

"America is recruiting these weak-minded people to create sectarian fighting to help Israel and weaken Syria," said Elyas Helyani of the Syrian Human Rights Network.

"We have evidence of all this and will publish it soon to let the entire world know the reality," he told CNN.

CNN cannot independently confirm events in Syria, which restricts international journalists from accessing many parts of the country.

The government says it has been making efforts to respond to citizens' grievances about the country's political system, and blames armed groups for stoking the violence.

Al-Assad announced the formation of a committee Saturday to draft a new constitution within four months, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and journalist Ian Lee contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 5:19 PM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
updated 6:19 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
updated 10:37 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT