News / Middle East

    Arab Leaders Call on Assad to Step Down

    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) welcomes new Chief of General Staff of the Army and the Armed Forces, General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, before a meeting in Damascus, July 22, 2012.
    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) welcomes new Chief of General Staff of the Army and the Armed Forces, General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, before a meeting in Damascus, July 22, 2012.
    VOA News

    Arab leaders are calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, promising him safe passage if he leaves the country.

     

    Arab League ministers held an emergency meeting on Syria in Doha Sunday. They said they regret that all Arab and international efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria have failed.

     

    They said Assad should immediately give up power and that the Kofi Annan peace plan should now focus on a transitional government. The ministers also pledged $100 million to help Syrian refugees. They gave no details about where President Assad would settle if he stepped down.

     

    In Syria, activists say security forces attacked rebels in the capital, Damascus, with helicopters and tanks, while rebels launched an offensive against the government in Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

     

    The activists say government troops used helicopter and tank fire to try to drive rebels out of the Damascus neighborhoods. Syrian state news agency SANA denied that helicopters were deployed. It insisted the capital was normal and said security forces chased what it called "terrorist" remnants from the streets. 

     

    Iraqi officials say Syrian forces have retaken control of one of two border crossings that the rebels seized last week, while Turkey says rebels took over another border crossing with Syria on Sunday.

     

    Aleppo had been largely untouched by the 16-month uprising against President Assad. It is home to Syrian elites and merchants who have benefited from his authoritarian rule.

     

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    July 23, 2012 3:22 PM
    Arab League? Does that name exist, or is there still an organization existing by that name? The last time that name surfaced was when a fracas arose that named Israel on one part. In all the troubles in Arab lands the so-called league has been a friendly woman-trained dog - just friendly even to lick the spilled blood of Syrian civil community. What can it do but continue to cry wolf. Assad has been one of them, so he knows that the body is useless and can do nothing, not even the safe haven they are promising him. Until the league includes Israel - after all a good percentage of Arabs live in Israel - the league cannot be a true League, and cannot live up to any billing except exist by name only.

    by: Roman from: Russia
    July 23, 2012 7:47 AM
    Democracy is a very interesting thing. If country had resoures or good strategic situation then always some countries (especcialy US) want to bring democracy to their people, but when we take poor African country for example Somali or Ruanda, then people do not need in democracy. Do you know about massacre in Ruanda in 1994 when during 100 days were killed more 1 000 000.00 people. Conclision ia simple no oil and gas - no democracy. And what Siria 2009 - two milions foreign tourists, 2012 - two milions refuges. Viva American democracy!!!

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    July 22, 2012 11:13 PM
    Were there any dictators who had agreed on stepping down the position accepting the calling on from foreign countries? Is he so foolish enough to believe guarantee of sueurity after resignation offered by Arab leaders?

    by: Anonymous
    July 22, 2012 9:58 PM
    Hey Assad , here's your ticket. You either leave town and survive, or you stick around and your own people will kill you. What will it be? The majority of your country wants you hung for crimes.

    Take the ticket and get the hell out of town, if you are stupid enough to stay, which I think you are is a good thing too. Because at least if you stay when the FSA finally reaches you, justice will be served. However if you take the ticket you will just be a regular proven coward, without justice being served.

    by: Romildo Caldas from: Brazil
    July 22, 2012 5:47 PM
    I am sure Syrian People with help or not, will reach the proposed goals: Democracy and Freedom. It is the logical track of History.

    by: American from: USA
    July 22, 2012 5:15 PM
    LONG LIVE ASSAD AND THE BA'ATHIST PARTY!


    by: Monika from: Lebanon
    July 22, 2012 1:21 PM
    Oh... isn't it wonderful...??? now, how can we blame it on the US or Israel???

    by: Anonymous
    July 22, 2012 12:09 PM
    The world really doesn't have a way to make US and its Europian followers to change their double standards: Pro-US = "rebels" or "anti-government organizations"; Anti-US = "terrorists".

    by: Michael from: USA
    July 22, 2012 9:43 AM
    The Syrian government will probably be depleted from lack of energy. The rebel forces might establish a different government. Prayers from around the world will help Syrian leaders to turn toward proper care of the nation. The 30,000 Syrians can leave Lebanon to return to Syria. Then, later the country could be rebuilt by the best of builders

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