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DEVELOPING: The Arab League overwhelmingly approved sanctions Sunday against Syria to pressure Damascus to end its deadly eight-month crackdown on dissent, an unprecedented move by the League against an Arab state. Before the vote, Damascus slammed the vote as a betrayal of Arab solidarity. Besides punishing an already ailing economy, the sanctions are a huge blow for a Syrian regime that considers itself a powerhouse of Arab nationalism. At a news conference in Cairo, Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim said 19 of the League's 22 member nations approved the sanctions, which include cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank and halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria. Iraq and Lebanon abstained. "We aim to avoid any suffering for the Syrian people," bin Jassim said. The sanctions are the latest in a growing wave of international pressure pushing Syria to end its violent suppression of protests against President Bashar Assad, which the U.N. says has killed more than 3,500 people since March. Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said the bloc will reconsider the sanctions if Syria carries out an Arab-brokered peace plan that includes sending observers to the country and pulling tanks from the streets. "We call on Syria to quickly approve the Arab initiative," he said. The state-owned Al-Thawra newspaper ran a front-page headline Sunday saying the Arab League is calling for "economic and commercial sanctions targeting the Syrian people." It said the measure is "unprecedented and contradicts the rules of Arab cooperation." Since the revolt began, the regime has blamed armed gangs acting out a foreign conspiracy for the bloodshed. It is not clear whether Arab sanctions will succeed in pressuring the Syrian regime into ending the violence that has killed dozens of Syrians, week after week. Many fear the violence is pushing the country toward civil war. Read more: www.foxnews.com...