Pro-government Syrian protestors storm Arab embassies after League vote
In what has to be considered a well planned asssault, protestors supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad stormed the Saudi Arabian and Turkish embassies, attacking guards and breaking windows in response to a vote by the Arab League to suspend Syria's membership.
The call for an urgent session of the Arab League came as tens of thousands of pro-government demonstrators thronged central squares in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo to denounce the Arab League's move Saturday, which opens the door to an escalation of international pressure on the regime to halt its violent crackdown against an eight-month old uprising.
Syrian state television broadcast hours of live coverage of the demonstrations, in which government supporters waved Syrian flags and portraits of Assad, and chanted slogans supporting the president.
Overnight, hordes of Assad supporters attacked the Saudi Arabian and Turkish embassies to vent their anger. The Saudi News Agency said the assailants stormed the embassy, attacked a guard and broke windows.
A crowd of 1,000 people tried to force their way into the Turkish embassy in Damascus, and there were also attacks against the Turkish consulates in Aleppo and Lattakia, according to Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency.
CNN Turk and Turkey's NTV news channel reported that Turkey was preparing to evacuate the families of its diplomatic staff in Syria after the attacks.
Though Turkey is not in the Arab League, it has harshly condemned Assad's behavior, and given sanctuary to opposition leaders and defected Syrian army soldiers. The move by the Arab League to isolate Assad is expected to increase pressure on Turkey to also take firmer action against Syria, including economic sanctions.
Syria's ambassador to the Arab League has threatend to "punish" those members who drafted the decision to suspend Damascus. This is no idle threat as Syria controls or heavily influences several terrorist groups. It remains to be seen whether the Arab League action will spur the international community to make greater efforts to stop the slaughter.