Conflict & Justice

Syria misses Arab League deadline, remains defiant



Pro-democracy protesters burn portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a demonstration outside the Arab League headquarters in Cairo where an emergency ministerial meeting was held on November 12, 2011 to discuss the situation in Syria.



Syria has missed thel 1 p.m. local time Friday deadline set by the Arab League to allow international observers into the country or face sanctions.

Instead of cooperating with the League, the Syrian military defiantly vowed Friday to "cut every evil hand that targets Syrian blood," the Associated Press reported. The move further isolates President Bashar al-Assad's regime from the international community who've already reprimanded the 40-year ruler for violence against protesters.

"Our armed forces (will) continue to carry out our mission to defend the country's security, and we will hit back against anything that threatens us," Syria's military said in a statement regarding six elite pilots and four technical officers they say were killed in a recent high-level ambush in Homs.

The Arab League's ultimatum was issued at the end of a crisis meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo, held to discuss the ongoing violence against anti-government demonstrations, Agence France Presse reported.

More on GlobalPost: Arab League rejects Syria's "conditioned" proposal for observer mission

The Arab League is pushing for 500 observers to be allowed to enter the country.

For the first time, the Arab League foreign ministers have also called on the United Nations to help end the violence.

If Syria fails to sign an agreement in Cairo, the Arab League plans to meet on Saturday to decide on the sanctions, the BBC reported.

The network said the sanctions may include a suspension of commercial flights to Syria and a suspension on dealings with the country’s central bank.

Activists say 40 people, including six children were killed on Thursday. Media reports said 11 security force members and seven military pilots were among them.

Assad has blamed ongoing violence in the country on “armed gangs and militants.”

The United Nations estimates that more than 3,500 people have died since anti-government protests began in March.