Arab League threatens sanctions against Syria

Damascus given 24-hour ultimatum

The Arab League has threatened to impose sweeping sanctions on Syria if it fails to sign a protocol allowing Arab monitors into the country by Friday, Reuters reports. It is a historical step for the League, which usually avoids punishing its own member states. A similar initiative by Arab countries calling for a no-fly zone over Libya paved the way for NATO air strikes there, but the League rejected the idea of an international intervention in Syria. Separately, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe was pushing for humanitarian convoys to be sent inside Syria with or without approval from Damascus. Though the French initiative does not entail military intervention, it represents a break from a previous, commonly shared stance among world powers against any direct involvement in Syria.