Fresh sanctions hit Syria as 12 killed in crackdown Eds: Releads with Turkish sanctions; adds casualties
Turkey on Wednesday became the latest country to slap sanctions on Syria, prompted by its eight-month-long crackdown on opposition protests in which the United Nations says at least 3,500 people have been killed, dreported dpa.
Another 12 people were killed in the crackdown on Wednesday, activists said.
Turkey, Syria's biggest trade partner, said it would suspend all financial credit dealings with its neighbour and freeze the Syrian government's assets.
"Until a legitimate government, which is at peace with its people, is in charge in Syria, the mechanism of the High Level of Strategic Cooperation has been suspended," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a press conference in Ankara.
He added that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had come "to the end of the road".
Turkey has emerged as one of the most vociferous critics of Syria's clampdown.
In Brussels, diplomats said the European Union was poised to also hit Syria with massive sanctions targeting everything from computer software and insurance to the banking and energy sectors.
The deaths in Wednesday's clampdown occurred in the dissident Syrian provinces of Daraa and Idlib, according to opposition activists.
"Syrian security forces backed by tanks entered this morning the village of Daal in the southern province of Daraa," Rami Abdel Rahman, the spokesman for the Syrian observatory for Human Rights, told dpa.
Six people were killed in the crackdown mounted as security forces searched for army defectors, he said.
Six others, including a woman and a 12-year-old boy, were killed by government forces in Idlib, near the Turkish border, according to the London-based observatory.
The state Syrian News Agency SANA said that funerals were held Wednesday for 14 soldiers and policemen killed while on duty by "terrorist groups."
The Syrian authorities have repeatedly blamed the unrest in the country on "armed terrorists group", allegedly financed by foreign countries.
SANA added that the Syrian authorities had released on Wednesday some 912 prisoners who had been detained in the eight-month crackdown in the country.
The violence in Syria was Wednesday the focus of an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
"We should work on solving the crisis in Syria through the halting of violence and dialogue," the organization's head, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, told the gathering.
"Today's meeting constitutes a last chance to come out with a solution for the Syrian crisis," he added in the presence of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.
Meanwhile, Qatar's state-owned airline, Qatari Airways, said it was stopping its flights to and from Syria starting Wednesday as part of a package of sanctions imposed by the Arab League on Damascus.
The airline added that the suspension would be in effect until November 28, 2012.
On Sunday, the Arab League slapped sweeping economic sanctions - including halting trade links - on the Syrian government for failing to endorse a plan to allow Arab monitors into the country, a move some say might convince the government to stop its crackdown.