Arab League Urges End to Violence In Syria

Posted August 27th, 2011 at 9:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The Arab League is calling for an end to the bloodshed in Syria, and says people's right to see political and social reforms should be respected.

In an emergency meeting in Cairo that ended early Sunday, the Arab League said it is sending its secretary-general, Nabil Elaraby, to Damascus to seek a solution.

The group expressed grave concern about the violence in Syria that has left thousands of casualties.

The Arab League's statement comes a day after Syria's closest ally, Iran, called on the government in Damascus to listen to the people's “legitimate demands.”

The comments by Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi were the first such remarks from Iran since the five-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began.

Salehi warned of dangerous regional implications if the crisis in Syria was not solved peacefully. He said a power vacuum in Syria would have “unprecedented repercussions'' among its neighbors.

But despite the widespread calls for peace, Syrian activists say forces loyal to Mr. Assad once again attacked anti-government protesters. At least two people were killed in the fighting in cities across the country.

The Syrian government has denied reports of protests in the capital. The state-run SANA news agency says foreign news organizations “fabricated” the stories.

The United Nations says more than 2,000 people have died in the country during the government's crackdown on dissent. President Assad has blamed much of the violence on what he calls armed “gangs” and “terrorists.”

On Friday, rights groups and activists said security forces shot at protesters in the Damascus suburb of Douma, Dara'a province in the south and the eastern town of Deir Ezzor.

However, Syria countered by saying “hooded gunmen” opened fire on police in Deir Ezzor, wounding three officers. SANA said law enforcement officers responded by shooting and killing two of the gunmen. The news agency also said “gunmen” attacked a security building in Douma, wounding two guards.