Syria faces growing world pressure to halt bloodshed
Jordan's King Abdullah told Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Monday he should step down and the European Union added pressure with more sanctions after the Arab League's surprise decision to suspend Damascus for its violent crackdown on protests.
Syria looks ever more isolated, but still has the support of Russia, which said the Arab League had made the wrong move and accused the West of inciting Assad's opponents.
Despite the diplomatic pressure, there was no let-up in violence and at least two people were killed, activists said.
The anti-Assad unrest, inspired by Arab revolts elsewhere, has devastated Syria's economy, scaring off tourists and investors, while Western sanctions have crippled oil exports.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem said the League's decision, due to take effect on Wednesday, was "an extremely dangerous step" at a time when Damascus was implementing an Arab deal to end violence and start talks with the opposition.
Syria has called for an emergency Arab League summit in an apparent effort to forestall its suspension.
Nabil Elaraby, the organization's secretary general, said he had delivered the request to rulers of Arab League states and 15 members would have to approve in order to hold a summit, according to Egypt's state news agency MENA.
The League's suspension is a particularly bitter blow for Assad who has always seen himself as a champion of Arab unity. But adding to the injury, the Cairo-based League plans to meet Syrian dissident groups on Tuesday.
Even so, Elaraby said on Sunday it was too soon to consider recognizing the Syrian opposition as the country's legitimate authority.