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Arab League chief fears civil war in Syria

13 January 2012, 10:37

Cairo - The head of the Arab League said in remarks broadcast on Friday he was worried about the prospect of a Syrian civil war with consequences for the country's neighbours.

"Yes I fear a civil war and the events that we see and hear about now could lead to a civil war," said Nabil Elaraby, whose body currently has monitors in Syria checking its compliance with an agreement aimed at halting a crackdown on protesters.

"Any problems in Syria will have consequences for the neighbouring states," he said in an interview with the Egyptian Al-Hayat channel.

The Arab League's monitoring mission is struggling to salvage credibility as its members start to walk out, the opposition calls it a toothless failure and killings of anti-government protesters continue unabated.

Elaraby described reports from the mission head as "worrying", though he added that there was "no doubt that the pace of killing has fallen with the presence of the observers".

The mission will present its findings to the League's foreign ministers on January 19-20. It is not clear what more the League can do if, as expected, the report finds that Syria has not complied or not fully complied with its promises.

"The decision will be from the ministerial council of the League. They will decide whether there is any benefit in continuing or not," Elaraby said.

- Reuters

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