Arab League calls for regime change in Syria

League ministers seek UN endorsement to end the rule of Bashar al-Assad

After marathon discussions on the ongoing violence in Syria, Arab League ministers have announced they will seek United Nations endorsement for a plan to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. The Financial Times reports that Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani of Qatar told a news conference in Cairo the plan will call for Assad to hand over power to an interim government, with democratic parliamentary and presidential elections to be held within six months. The move comes in response to ten months of violence in Syria that has left 5,000 people dead, most of them killed by security forces in continual crackdowns on popular protest. An anonymous Syrian government official, quoted by the state news agency, called the plan “a violation of [Syria’s] sovereignty and flagrant interference in its internal affairs”. Meanwhile, the Arab League says it will keep its monitors in Damascus. Syrian opposition spokespersons have criticized the monitors for being ineffectual, saying they merely provide cover for further violence against protestors.