Al-Azhar calls for ‘serious and immediate measures’ to end Syria bloodshed

The grand sheikh of Al-Azhar called on Arab leaders Friday to adopt serious and immediate measures to stanch the continued bloodshed in Syria and help liberate its people.

“[Arab intervention] will prevent outsiders from transgressing upon our Arab lands,” said Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the leader of the preeminent authority in Sunni Islam, in a statement.

He added that he and other scholars from the institution feel grief and and pain over the “waterfalls of blood” flowing in Syria.

Tayyeb's statement came before an important Arab League meeting of foreign ministers scheduled for Sunday, where they are expected to receive the report of League observers returning from Syria.

On Saturday, the leader of Qatar said Arab countries should send troops into Syria to prevent its government from killing more civilians. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told the American television channel CBS that Arab troops should intervene to stop the killing, becoming the first Arab leader to publicly call for military intervention in Syria.

The Syrian National Council, an umbrella opposition group operating outside of Syria, has called for UN intervention.

On Tuesday, the Syrian government rejected the Qatari proposal. The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Damascus will oppose any attempt to undermine its sovereignty, and wants Arab nations to stop waging a media campaign against Syria.

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