Closed-door politics: ‘Economic war’ against Syria seals crisis

The Arab League’s sanctions against Damascus are in fact “a declaration of economic war” against the Syrian people, which “closed windows” for resolving the country’s crisis, the country’s senior diplomat says.

“Let them study the history of Syria very well,” Syrian FM Walid al-Moallem told reporters at a news conference on Monday. “Neither warnings nor sanctions will work with us.”

On November 27, the Arab League approved sweeping sanctions targeting Syria for its crackdown on protesters. The UN says more than 3,500 people have been killed during the 8-month-old uprising.

Syria insists it’s the victim of a foreign-supported insurgency by armed gangs, which al-Moallem attempted to prove by showing reporters footage of charred and bloodied corpses.

“I’m sorry for these gruesome pictures, but they are a gift for the members of the Arab League who still deny the presence of these armed gangs,” he said.

Al-Moallem noted that armed terrorist groups intensified their crimes after the army and security forces left some towns, reports Syria’s official news agency SANA.

“Stop funding gunmen in Syria and media instigation against it. We want you to take steps to control borders.We are prepared to cooperate with neighbouring countries,” he told the Arab League.

Also on Monday, the UN released a report that found Syrian troops committed ‘crimes against humanity’, including the killing of hundreds of children since the government crackdown began in March.

The report insists Syrian security forces, along with militias, were given ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders to crush demonstrations.

Meanwhile Russia’s foreign ministry says Moscow is closely-monitoring Arab League efforts to seek fast and peaceful way to settle the Syrian crisis without external interference.

“We presume that the priority here is to preserve the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria as one of the key countries in the Middle East,” the statement reads.

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