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Assad 'is leading Syria into civil war'

PRESIDENT Bashar al-Assad's flouting of a regional peace plan is leading Syria into civil war, the secretary-general of the Arab League warned yesterday.

Nabil Elaraby suggested that Mr Assad had not fulfilled pledges to withdraw his troops from cities and end government-sponsored violence against protesters.

"We are very concerned because there were certain commitments that were not complied with," he told Egyptian television. "If this continues, it may turn into civil war."

Mr Elaraby acknowledged that a failure to bring about a swift resolution to the crisis could spread instability in the region, with the danger of sectarian violence spilling into neighbouring countries.

The warning came as tens of thousands again defied the threat of death to march in Damascus and other cities after noon prayers yesterday as they have done since the uprising erupted 10 months ago. At least two people were killed. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent