Syria Nixes Arab League Peace Plan
Calls for Assad to leave power are a 'flagrant interference'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2012 6:47 AM CST
A pro-Syrian regime protester and his son stand in front a giant portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a demonstration to show their solidarity, in Damascus, Syria, on Jan. 20, 2102. T   (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

(Newser) – Syria has quickly rejected a peace plan floated by the Arab League, today calling it a "flagrant interference" in the country's internal affairs. The plan, proposed as the Arab League's observer mission flounders, called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down within two weeks, transfer power to his vice president, and begin negotiations with the opposition. It also called for a national unity government within two months, and ultimately sought supervised presidential and parliamentary elections, the AP reports.

But, according to the state-run news agency, Damascus considers the plan just the latest evidence of an international conspiracy against the country. The European Union backed the plan today, while also extending current sanctions against the Syrian government, but a spokesperson for the Syrian National Council says the League must go so far as to demand Assad relinquish power. The League also called for an end to the military crackdown on protesters, but the violence continues: Five soldiers were reportedly killed in a clash between troops and army defectors today.