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Gulf States Call Arab League Meeting On 'Dire' Situation In Syria

The Gulf Cooperation Council called for a meeting of the Arab League on what it termed the "dire" situation in Syria. Reuters and Al Arabiyareport the GCC issued a statement with the announcement.

Al Arabiya adds:

They said the meeting be should held at foreign ministers' level and discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria, and study ways "to stop the bloodshed and machine of violence," they said.

The GCC is a loose political and economic alliance of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

Remember the GCC was the organization that sent troops to Bahrain in March to quell demonstrations. In this instance, the Gulf countries are on the side of the protesters.

The move comes after months of clashes between the security forces of President Bashar Assad and protesters. Today at least 14 people were killed in clashes.

In related news, Britains Foreign Secretary William Hague said their government had called Syria's ambassador to the Foreign Office to warn him about the illegal intimidation of government dissenters in Britain.

The Telegraph reports:

Officials said that Scotland Yard had opened one investigation and were looking into other allegations that opposition demonstrators were being targeted by embassy staff. Should the allegations be substantiated the development would lead to the explusion of Syrian diplomats, one official said.

Relations with the Syrian regime were now at the lowest ebb in recent memory as a result of deep concern over the loss of life, a spokesman said. The crackdown on protests cost another 14 lives on Thursday in clashes between troops and the opposition in two towns.

Mr Hague said pressure on the regime would not let up until Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, stepped down. "Too much blood has been spilled for this regime to recover its credibility," he said. "President Assad should step aside now and allow others to take forward reform."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.