Arab League: Assad remains legitimate authority
The Arab League has no plans for now to recognize the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representatives of the people of Syria, Ahmed bin Heli, the Arab League deputy secretary-general, told Egypt's Channel One television on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.
"We have not arrived at an overall decision on recognition of any opposition organization as the representative of the Syrian people," he said.
It would be wrong to call the current unrest in Syria a civil war, he said. "The Syrian authorities and the armed and unarmed oppositions still have a chance to sit down at the negotiating table, to take momentous decisions in the name of Syria to reconcile the Syrian public, in order to prevent this crisis from devolving into a sectarian conflict or a civil war," he said.
If they do not, Heli said, Syria's unity will be at risk.
Syria has been the scene of continuous anti-government protests for nearly a year. According to the United Nations, more than 7,500 people have died in the unrest.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blames the violence on "armed terrorist gangs" that are receiving support from Western governments and pro-Western monarchies in the Persian Gulf, namely Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have openly called for arming the opposition, something Assad insists is already happening.