Islamic Cooperation Organization agrees to suspend Syria
Foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have agreed to suspend Syria from the 57-member international body, an OIC source said.
The ministers gathered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Monday prior to the OIC summit in Mecca on August 14-15. "The OIC ministers agreed to suspend Syria's membership in the organization," the source told RIA Novosti.
The move by the group representing Muslim interests in the global affairs reflects its concern over escalating violence in the country torn by an acute political crisis. Syria's membership in the Arab League was suspended nine months ago.
The Syrian conflict has claimed up to 20,000 lives since March 2011, according to estimates by various opposition groups and the UN. The UN refugee agency has registered almost 150,000 refugees in four countries bordering Syria.
Most recently, after regaining control of Damascus, the Syrian army has continued a large-scale offensive to force rebels out of the northern city of Aleppo, on the border with Turkey.
The government troops on Monday stormed the western neighborhood of Aleppo in a battle that could decide the future of the armed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.