Reports from Brussels say the EU has agreed to extend sanctions against Syria to more individuals linked to the repression of demonstrators. It is also seeking to block Syrian access to European funds.
EU foreign ministers are expected to approve the new sanctions on Monday.
Turkey has helped increase the pressure on Assad’s regime: its foreign minister has met Syrian opposition figures.
Damascus remains defiant. It has reacted angrily to the Arab League’s surprise move to suspend Syrian membership. The League will also impose economic and political sanctions on Syria and appeal to its member states to withdraw their ambassadors.
“The Arab League decision to suspend Syria and take further action is a very dangerous move both now and for the future of the Arab countries within this organisation, and also for the Arab League’s objectives,” said Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Moualem.
In Hama, activists say security forces shot dead eight people who shouted anti-Assad slogans at a pro-government rally.
Elsewhere it is claimed a 14-year-old boy was killed for refusing to join a march condemning the Arab League.
While such accounts are hard to verify, it is clear that the Syrian regime is not taking the diplomatic assault against it lying down.
Sunday’s mass demonstrations organised by the authorities followed attacks on the Turkish and Saudi Arabian embassies, as well as French diplomatic offices.
The foreign minister has apologised for the attacks.