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King Abdullah Of Jordan Says Syrian President Should Step Down

Jordan's King Abdullah.
Khalil Mazraawi
AFP/Getty Images
Jordan's King Abdullah.

King Abdullah of Jordan put more pressure on Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad to step down.

"I believe, if I were in his shoes, I would step down," King Abdullahtold the BBC. "If Bashar has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life."

His comments come two days after the Arab League suspended Syria's membership over the continued clashes between the government and protesters. Since the uprising began, earlier this year, more than 3,000 Syrians have died, according to the United Nations.

King Abdullah also made two important points his interview:

-- He said even if Assad steps down, there's no telling if things will change in the country. Abdullah said he knows Assad has "reform in his blood," but the system may not allow for it.

-- Abdullah said he doesn't believe any Arab country supports military intervention in Syria. He said in no uncertain terms that Jordan doesn't "support military intervention."

From Beirut, NPR's Kelly McEvers reports that this is the first Arab leader to call for Assad to step down.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.