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svgadminsvgNovember 6, 2011svgNews

Arab League Warns ‘Catastrophe’ Imminent in Syria

Arab League secretary-general Nabil el-Arabi warned Damascus on Saturday that a “catastrophic” situation is imminent in Syria, according to the Egyptian state-run Middle Eastern News Agency (MENA).

“The failure of the Arabic solution would have catastrophic consequences for the situation in Syria and the region, and that’s what the Arab League is trying to avoid in an attempt to save Syria’s security and stability,” el-Arabi said in his statement released from Cairo.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed Wednesday to a deal worked out with the Arab League to end the violence, but has shown no signs of following up his agreement.

Instead, the Syrian government last week broadcast an appeal via state media, urging “misled” citizens to surrender in return for amnesty ahead of the upcoming Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday, which starts Sunday night. Those who complied, SANA reported, “will be released soon and this will be considered as a general amnesty for them.”

El-Arabi also met in Cairo with Burhan Ghaliyoun, the Paris-based leader of the opposition Syrian National Council.

Ghaliyoun warned Syrians to abandon the idea of surrender in a televised speech broadcast over the pan-Arab satellite news network Al Jazeera. Instead, he asked Syrian soldiers to “follow their colleagues who abandoned their weapons,” saying there would be “no excuse for any soldier saying that he was following military commands.”

Many of those who have been detained by the Syrian government have “disappeared,” according to activists. Those who have not have been beaten and tortured while in jail, former prisoners have said.

The National Organization for Human Rights Activists said over the weekend that more than 4,000 people have died in the government-led violence since Syria’s version of the Arab Spring uprising began in March. 

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