Syrians attack Saudi, Turkish embassies
Protests erupt over Arab League's move to suspend Syria
Demonstrators backing the Syrian regime stormed Saudi Arabia's embassy in Damascus overnight and tried to break into the Turkish embassy in the city, upset with the Arab League for voting to suspend Syria's membership.
According to the Saudi state news agency, an angry crowd began its protest late Saturday by hurling stones at the Saudi Embassy. They then smashed windows and entered the premises, destroying property inside.
Other protesters tried to break into the Turkish Embassy and into the country's consulates in the cities of Aleppo and Latakia. At Qatar's embassy, protesters brought down the Qatari flag and replaced it with the Syrian flag.
Tens of thousands of pro-regime demonstrators gathered in a Damascus square on Sunday to continue voicing the government's outrage at the Arab League.
The league's foreign ministers voted on Saturday to suspend Syria in four days and warned it could face sanctions if it does not comply with an agreement to end its crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations, which the UN says has cost more than 3,500 lives since mid-March.
Turkey is not a member of the league but welcomed the decision.
Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the embassy attack in a statement by its foreign ministry and said it held Syrian authorities responsible for protecting its interests.
Saudi King Abdullah recalled the Saudi ambassador to Syria in August and has condemned the crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Kuwait and Bahrain also have recalled their ambassadors.
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Turkey sent a plane on Sunday to evacuate the families of diplomats as well as non-essential staff from Damascus, and it advised its citizens to avoid travelling to Syria.
Syria says the decision to suspend it was illegal and could only be taken by a full session of the Arab League. On Sunday, it called for such a summit to be held before its membership suspension takes effect on Wednesday.
In a significant concession, the Syrian government said Arab League officials could bring any civilian or military observers they deem appropriate to oversee implementation of the league's plan for ending the violence.
Activists resist day of pro-government rallies
State television has shown a series of huge demonstrations in favour of the Syrian government. But on Facebook, some Syrians have said they are being forced to attend.
Activists say eight opposition supporters were shot dead Sunday in the city of Hama, 240 kilometres north of Damascus, when they broke away from a pro-government demonstration to start chanting slogans against President Assad.
An activist told Reuters that security forces were leading public workers and students into Orontes Square when groups broke away and started shouting, "The people want the fall of the regime."
The agency reported that video uploaded onto a social media website showed panicked scenes in Hama as men ran through the streets, with audio of gunfire clearly heard.
With files from The Associated Press