BEIRUT: Syrian athletes will boycott the Arab Games in Qatar next month in protest of the Arab League move to suspend Damascus and impose economic and political sanctions, the state news agency SANA said.
The agency quoted a statement from the Syrian Olympic Committee and General Sports Federation describing the Arab League decision on Saturday as a “dark spot in its history.”
The suspension comes in response to Syria’s bloody crackdown on an eight-month protest movement calling for President Bashar Assad’s overthrow.
An event official in Qatar told Reuters on Sunday that Syrian athletes would be welcome at the Dec. 9-23 games despite the country’s suspension from the league.
Some 6,000 athletes are expected at the Arab Games which will include soccer, swimming, athletics, gymnastics, equestrian events and basketball.