Bashar al-Assad has rejected an Arab League plan whereby he would be replaced as president by his vice-president as a precursor for the formation of a national unity government.

“Syria rejects the decisions of the Arab League ministerial council . . . and considers them a violation of its national sovereignty and a flagrant interference in its internal affairs,” Syrian state television quoted an official source as saying.

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The Arab League also announced that it would extend its largely ineffective and much-maligned observer mission in Syria despite Saudi Arabia’s withdrawal.

“Syria condemns this decision which is part of the conspiracy against Syria,” the official source said, criticizing the League for ignoring Assad’s pledge to institute reforms.

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