Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Saudi Arabia said Sunday it was pulling out of the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria. Prince Saud al-Faisal announced his country’s decision just as an Arab League committee recommended extending the much-criticized mission for one month. “The Syrian government did not implement the Arab plan,” he said, while urging more international pressure on the government of President Bashar Assad, reports the Associated Press.
Al-Jazeera hears word that the number of monitors would increase from 165 to 300. The monitoring mission has come under fire because it has failed to stop a nearly year-long crackdown on protesters who want Assad to step down. Even the opposition Syrian National Council has asked the Arab League to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, notes the BBC.
Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are planning to introduce a bill that would increase sanctions on Syria.
POST Friday 4:46 p.m.: The Washington Post with the scoop: The U.S. is prepping to shutter its embassy in Syria and evacuate all American personnel by the end of this month.
Senior administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, tell the paper that the embassy’s closure will happen unless embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad provides increased protection, something he has shown no willingness to do so far. “Unless we see that, we have no choice,” one official said.
The official added: “The security situation across Syria, which is deteriorating with each day that Assad clings to power, demonstrates further that Assad is losing control of the country and reinforces our point that Assad has lost all legitimacy.”