Beirut: The Arab League was set to vote on Sunday on sweeping sanctions against Syria, as Damascus slammed the move as a betrayal of Arab solidarity.
   
Syria is facing mounting international pressure to end the bloody crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar Assad, which the UN says has killed more than 3,500 people since March. The European Union and the United States have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Assad and his regime, including a ban on the import of Syrian oil.
   
The 22-nation Arab League will vote on Sunday on whether to impose its own sanctions, which could include halting cooperation with Syria's central bank and stopping flights to the country. If the Arab League goes ahead with the sanctions, it will be a huge blow for a regime that considers itself a powerhouse of Arab nationalism.
   
The state-owned newspaper ran a front-page headline on Sunday saying the Arab League is calling for "economic and commercial sanctions targeting the Syrian people."
   
The measure is "unprecedented and contradicts the rules of Arab cooperation," the paper said.
   
Since the revolt began, the regime has blamed armed gangs acting out a foreign conspiracy for the bloodshed.    

It is not clear whether Arab sanctions would succeed in pressuring the Syrian regime into putting an end to the violence that has claimed the lives of dozens of Syrians, week after week. Many fear the violence is pushing the country toward civil war.
   
Until recently, most of the bloodshed was caused by security forces firing on mainly peaceful protests. But there have been growing reports of army defectors and armed civilians fighting Assad's forces, a development that some say plays into the regime's hands by giving government troops a pretext to crack down with overwhelming force.

(Agencies)