REUTERS - Arab states told Syria on Sunday to "resort to reason" and end months of bloodshed after some of the most intense protests in Damascus since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Arab League foreign ministers also agreed to send Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby to Syria to push for political and economic reforms in the country ruled by Assad's family for 41 years.
Their move came after Syria's closest ally Iran also said Damascus must listen to the "legitimate demands" of its people, adding, however, that any change in Syria's ruling system or a power vacuum in Damascus would be dangerous for the region.
The United Nations says 2,200 people have been killed since Assad sent in tanks and troops to crush the demonstrations that erupted in March after the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt were toppled by popular protests.
But despite growing international condemnation, the threat of more Western sanctions, and escalating economic pressures because of the impact on tourism and investment, Assad's rule shows no sign of imminent collapse.
The Arab League council stressed "the importance of ending bloodshed and to resort to reason before it is too late".