Jordan urges Assad to quit

The surprising statement comes as Arabs close ranks against Damascus. On Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria over attacks on protesters that the UN estimates have killed 3,500 people since mid-March.

“If Bashar (Assad) has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life,” Abdullah told the BBC in an interview.

Damascus had no immediate public comment.
Earlier on Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem accused Arab nations of conspiring against Damascus, calling Saturday’s near-unanimous vote at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo “shameful and malicious.” The vote was a stinging rebuke to a regime that prides itself as a bastion of Arab nationalism and left Syria increasingly isolated over its crackdown.

“We wanted the role of the Arab League to be a supporting role, but if the Arabs wanted to be conspirators, this is their business,” al-Moallem said at a news conference in Damascus, betraying his country’s deep alarm over the decision.

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