Arab League foreign ministers have called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down quickly.
The group made the call at an emergency meeting in Qatar as the violence continued to escalate in many parts of Syria.
Secretary-General Nabil Al Arabi promised Assad that he and his family could leave safely but didn’t expand on where they would go.
Ministers also called on the Syrian opposition to unite and form a transitional government.
The demands were immediately rejected by a Syrian representative despite last week’s bomb blast which killed several of Assad’s inner circle and is thought to have severely weakened the regime.
“We are sorry that the Arab League has been reduced to this behaviour towards one of its founding members which, instead of helping Syria, has escalated the situation,” said Syrian Foreign Affairs spokesman Jihad Makdessi.
“Concerning the departure of Bashar al-Assad, we confirm to the Arab League and all those involved that the Syrian people are the only masters of his destiny,” he added.
Syria also hit back at accusations from Washington that Damascus was planning to use chemical weapons on its own people, adding that Syria would only deploy its arsenal if it faced “external aggression”.
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