26 Nov 2011

Syria stays quiet on sanction threat as deadline passes

6:09 am on 26 November 2011

An Arab League deadline for Syria to let an observer mission access the country or face sanctions has passed with no response from Damascus to the ultimatum.

The league wants 500 observers to enter Syria to monitor the situation amid continuing protests.

However, the Syrian government has reportedly agreed to let in only 40.

The league had warned it would meet on Saturday to discuss the sanctions, the BBC reports.

Earlier this month the league voted to suspend Syria and warned of unspecified sanctions for not implementing a peace plan.

Meanwhile, Turkey says it is now ready to take action if Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, fails to take steps towards ending the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says he hopes the Syrian government will give a positive response to the Arab League's plan.

But he says if it fails to do that, there are steps Turkey can take in consultation with the league.

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