Arab League Approves Sanctions against Syria

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The Arab League has overwhelmingly approved sanctions against the Syrian government led by President Bashar Assad

The move marks the first time in 66 years that the league has punished one of its members.

The league is trying to pressure the regime to end its deadly suppression of the eight-month-old uprising against Assad.

The United Nations said more than 3,500 people have been killed since the uprising began.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Monday called the new sanctions, "a declaration of economic war."

He said it will harm ordinary people more than the government.

Al-Moallem's remarks came during a news conference in Damascus supporting the regime's contention that armed gangs are behind the country's violence.

He told reporters that the Arab League and others refuse to believe that there is a foreign conspiracy targeting Syria.

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