The Arab League has moved closer to imposing sanctions on Syria while military defectors within the country have started to transform the non-violent protest into an armed struggle by attacking intelligence building.
Intensifying the international pressure on Syria, France has called back its ambassador from Syria and working with the Arab League on a draft UN resolution.
Last month Russia and China vetoed a UN security resolution condemning Damascus, but the Arab League’s decision last weekend to suspend Syria has given international moves new momentum.
The Arab foreign ministers also gave Damascus three days to implement a road map agreed this month to end the bloodshed and allow in observers, though they did not say what would happen if Syria failed to comply.
The Arab League has stopped short of calling for Assad’s departure or proposing any Libya-style military intervention, but its ostracism of Syria is a blow to a country whose ruling Baath party puts Arab nationalism at the centre of its credo.
In Damascus, Assad supporters threw stones at the embassy of the United Arab Emirates, in one of the most secure districts of the city, and smeared its walls with graffiti, witnesses said.
Report by Adhir Roy Chowdury