Arab foreign ministers agreed a list of sweeping sanctions on Sunday designed to cripple the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad who has defied pressure to halt the eight-month crackdown on protests, which killed more than 3,500 people.
The 22-member Arab League agreed to ban Syrian officials from visiting any Arab country, to freeze government assets, suspend flights and halt any transactions with the Syrian government and central bank.
The sanctions, announced by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani after a meeting in Cairo, are the first time the organisation has taken such economic measures against another country in the region.
"We hope that (the Syrian regime) puts an end to the massacres so that this resolution (authorising sanctions) is not put into force," said Sheikh Hamad. He has also called for "an end to the massacres, the freeing of prisoners and the withdrawal of tanks" from Syrian cities.
Nineteen of the Arab League's 22 members voted for the sanctions, but Iraq abstained and said it would refuse to implement them. Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari had said beforehand that it was "not possible" to impose sanctions on Assad's regime.
15 cvilians killed in syria: rights group
Syrian forces killed at least 15 civilians, six of them in the flashpoint region of Homs that has been under siege for several weeks in an operation to crush dissent, a rights group said.