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Arab League Chief Calls On Syria To Stop Violence

President Bashar al-Assad supporters attend a rally in Damascus on January 20.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi is calling on the Syrian government to stop further acts of violence against "defenseless civilians."

Arab League observers in Syria, depleted by a pullout of their Gulf Arab colleagues, resumed work on January 26 for the first time in a week.

Arabi praised the monitors for working "professionally and seriously" despite what he described as "very difficult circumstances."

The Arab League, while extending the monitoring mission for another month, has called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down after 10 months of unrest as part of a transition plan.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed since protests against Assad's regime began in March.

compiled from agency reports