It is a significant move, the Arab League banning Syria from its meetings and asking members to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus. As the BBC piece points out, it is a huge blow to Syrian pride. Syria is one of the largest and most important Arab states and these sanctions are about as good as anyone could have hoped from the League:
The vote came after Syria ignored an Arab League proposal envisaging the start of dialogue with the opposition.
But Syria's representative said the decision violated the league's charter.
Youssef Ahmed told Syrian state TV said it showed the league was "serving a Western and American agenda".
The Arab League proposals - accepted by the government of President Bashar al-Assad - include the release of prisoners, the withdrawal of security forces from the streets and talks between the government and opposition.
But the violence has continued, with the city of Homs bearing the brunt, say human rights activists. Twelve died on Saturday.
US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report this week documenting allegations of torture and unlawful killings in the city, and called on the Arab League to step up pressure on Damascus.
President Assad has sought to put down the protests since March. The UN says more than 3,500 people have died in the protests so far.
'Concern for Syria'
Eighteen Arab League member states voted at the Cairo meeting to suspend Syria, with Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voting against and Iraq abstaining.
The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says the decision is the most that anyone could have realistically expected from the Arab League.
It is a huge blow to Syria's pride, and could also be a real practical blow to its leaders, our correspondent adds.
Anything that diminishes Assad is a good thing. But the opposition wants much more - including a no fly zone which would be more of a statement of support from the world than any practical benefit since the Syrian air force has largely remained on the sidelines during the crackdown.
If you want to see what's happening inside Syria, this Frontline video "Inside Syria" is incredible and very informative. The first 30 minutes tells the story of some activists on the run from the government and how they live in fear of the Shabbia militia finding them. The second half is a profile of Assad that is remarkable in its depth and clarity.