BAGHDAD, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Iraq Monday rejected a call by the Arab League (AL) for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside from his post, an Iraqi official television reported.
"The Iraqi government rejects the AL call because it is a sovereign decision that should be exclusively decided by the people of Syria," the state-run Iraqia channel quoted government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh as saying.
Earlier, the AL called on Assad to swiftly renounce power in exchange for a safe exit for him and his family members.
The call came in a statement issued after a meeting by the AL foreign ministers in Doha on Monday.
"There is agreement on the need for the rapid resignation of President Bashar al-Assad," Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani told reporters at the end of the meeting.
Syria has been wracked by bombings and violence against civilians since March 2011, when anti-government protests began. The unrest has claimed the lives of thousands of people, including large numbers of security forces.
Special Report: Syrian Situation