x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Arab League warns peace deal failure would be 'catastrophic' for Syria

The statement comes amid reports of seven more people being killed in clashes today despite the ceasefire agreement.

CAIRO // Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi warned on Saturday that the failure of a deal brokered by his organisation to end violence in Syria would be "catastrophic" for the country and region.

"The failure of the Arab solution will have catastrophic consequences for the situation in Syria and the region," he said in a statement, while calling for an immediate end to the bloodshed.

The statement was issued after Arabi met Burhan Ghalioun, the Paris-based leader of the dissident Syrian National Council.

It also came after news that seven more people died in clashes on Saturday.

Arabi expressed his "deep regret and extreme concern at the continuation of violence in different regions of Syria, warning of the dangers of not achieving progress in implementing the Arab plan."

He added that the Arab League wanted to avoid such an outcome.

Arabi "called on the Syrian government to take immediate measures to implement the Arab plan, to which it committed itself," the statement said.

The plan, agreed on Wednesday, calls for an end to violence, the release of those detained, the withdrawal of the army from urban areas and free movement for observers and the media, as well as talks between the regime and opposition.

On Friday, Syrian troops killed at least 23 people when demonstrators took to the streets denouncing "despots and tyrants," with world powers casting doubt on the regime's commitment to the peace deal.