The Arab League voted Saturday to suspend Syria in four days and warned it could face sanctions if it does not end its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters.

The decision was a symbolic blow to a nation that prides itself on being a powerhouse of Arab nationalism.

Qatar Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim said 18 countries agreed to the suspension, which will take effect on Wednesday. Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voted against it, and Iraq abstained. The Arab League also will introduce political and economic sanctions against Syria, he said.

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