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Syria ignores Arab League deadline on observer mission

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria on Friday ignored an Arab League deadline to accept observers to oversee a peace deal to end more than eight months of bloodshed, with activists saying that a number of protesters and soldiers were killed during clashes.

Arab League officials said Thursday that if the government of President Bashar Assad failed to agree to sign a protocol detailing the mission of the observers, Arab finance ministers would meet today in Cairo to discuss sanctions that could include halting flights to Syria, curbing trade, and stopping transactions with the country's central bank.

Syria's economy is already suffering under sanctions from the European Union and the United States. Its two most vital sectors, oil and tourism, have all but come to a halt.

Turkey announced Friday that its foreign minister would hold talks with foreign ministers from Arab nations in Cairo Sunday to discuss Syria's failure to admit several hundred military and civilian observers.

The United Nations says at least 3,500 people have been killed since mid March in the crackdown. On Friday, at least 16 people were killed when security forces opened fire at demonstrations, activists said. The Syrian military said 10 of its personnel were killed Thursday.

Elections in Morocco: Moroccans voted for a new parliament Friday in Arab Spring-inspired elections that faced a boycott by democracy campaigners who said the monarchy isn't committed to change.

Fighting in Yemen: Heavy fighting between rival army units shook Yemen's capital Friday, killing two soldiers just days after President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to end his rule.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Syria ignores Arab League deadline on observer mission 11/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 25, 2011 10:57pm]
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