Arab League rejects Syrian changes to peace plan

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CAIRO (AP) -- The Arab League says it has rejected amendments proposed by Syria to a peace plan to end the crisis in the country, saying the changes put forward by Damascus alter the "essence" of the plan.

A statement issued Sunday by the Cairo-based organization says the league told the Syrian government that its proposals were also unacceptable because they introduce "drastic changes" to the mandate of an observers' mission the league wants to dispatch to Syria to ensure the implementation of the peace plan.

President Bashar Assad's regime has cracked down on an 8-month-old uprising against his rule and the league's plan provides for the withdrawal of the government's tanks from the streets, the release of political prisoners and a halt to attacks on civilians.