Last Updated: Sun Nov 13, 2011 16:47 pm (KSA) 13:47 pm (GMT)

Syria calls for an urgent Arab summit to address crisis; Turkey evacuates Damascus embassy

Around 1,000 supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tried to storm the Turkish embassy in Damascus to protest Turkey’s support for the Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership. (File photo)
Around 1,000 supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tried to storm the Turkish embassy in Damascus to protest Turkey’s support for the Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership. (File photo)

Damascus on Sunday called for an Arab summit to address the crisis in Syria, a day after the Arab League suspended the country’s membership over its failure to implement a plan to end bloodshed.

“Syria demands an emergency Arab summit to address the crisis and its negative consequences in the Arab world,” state television reported.

In related news, Turkey on Sunday ordered the evacuation of non-essential diplomatic personnel from Syria after protestors attacked the Turkish embassy and consulates in the country, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Diplomats’ families will also be evacuated under the decision made amid growing security concerns following the attacks late Saturday, diplomats told Anatolia.

Thousands of protestors attacked Turkey’s diplomatic mission in Damascus, showing their anger at Ankara’s support for the Arab League decision to suspend Syria’s membership, the agency added.

In Damascus, police used tear gas to disperse around 1,000 supporters of President Bashar al-Assad tried to storm the Turkish embassy, officials told Anatolia.

The crowd hurled the tear gas shells into the grounds and pelted the embassy with stones and plastic bottles, the report said.

Meanwhile, around 5,000 demonstrators smashed the windows of Turkey’s honorary consulate building in Latakia and burned a Turkish flag.

No one was injured in the protests, Anatolia said.

State television said millions of Syrians assembled in public arenas across the country to denounce the Arab League decision which came in response to a crackdown by Assad’s forces on pro-democracy protesters, which the United Nations says has killed 3,500 people.

Syrian officials blame the unrest on “terrorists” and foreign backed Islamist militants and say that 1,100 soldiers and police have been killed.

The television showed crowds carrying Syrian flags and posters of Assad at public squares in Damascus, the eastern city of Raqqa and the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous.

Syrian authorities have banned most independent media since the uprising demanding political freedoms and an end to 41 years of Assad family rule began in March.

On Sunday, security forces shot dead four people who shouted slogans against President Bashar al-Assad at a rally organized by the authorities in the city of Hama to show popular anger at an Arab League decision to suspend Syria, local activists said.

“Security forces were leading public workers and students into Orontes Square when groups broke away and started shouting ‘the people want the fall of the regime’,” one of the activists in Hama, 240 km (150 miles) north of Damascus, said.

“They escaped into the alleyways but were followed, and four were killed,” the activist added.

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