The Arab League has finally done what it should have months ago suspending Syria and demanding international sanctions against the country. The Arabs have watched in alarm and at times in helpless outrage since the Baathist regime in Damascus unleashed a reign of terror and unprecedented brutality against its own people but could do little save pass resolutions and issue earnest appeals urging restraint and dialogue. Even when the League used uncharacteristically strong language to rein in the relentless, murderous crackdown on an unarmed, totally peaceful civilian population in Syria, it invited nothing but derision and contempt from the regime. Indeed, as if to mock the Arab Leagues peace initiative, President Bashar Assad or whoever is running the show in Damascus stepped up the carnage in Homs and elsewhere in the country last week. Under the circumstances, the Arab states were more than justified in freezing Syrias membership following their emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday, urging international strictures against Damascus. Even as this rare action by the League against one of the most influential members is sure to be welcomed widely in the region and beyond, there will be many in and outside Syria who would wish this had come earlier saving hundreds of precious lives. Without doubt, the failure by both the Arabs and the international community to confront the regime emboldened it to continue and expand the carnage across the country. The civilian toll, according to the United Nations, topped 3,500 last week. It is almost certain to be much higher given the lack of transparency and total blackout of international media in Syria. Its high time the world community stood up to the criminals in Damascus who have the blood of thousands of innocents on their hands. For the longer the world dithers in dealing with Damascus, the more innocents it will be guilty of sending to their deaths. Syrias junta hasnt merely lost all moral right to govern the country if it ever had one it must now face international justice for its crimes against humanity. Defying repeated appeals by the Arab and Muslim countries and rest of the world, the full might of the Syrian security forces has been used against the very people they are supposed to protect. This will not go on forever though. Syrias moment of reckoning has nearly arrived and justice will catch up with all those soon who thought they could get away with murder. But then this is what many a mighty ruler in the neighborhood thought and look where they are today. Assad and others like him fail to learn from the recent ground shifting events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In the same way Syria is poised on the cusp of change, all thanks to epic sacrifices and perseverance of its courageous people. Arab News editorial