The Arab League said on Saturday it was suspending its observer mission monitoring the deadly regime crackdown on dissent in Syria because of the upsurge in violence, a League official said.
"The decision to suspend the Arab League mission in Syria has been taken because of the upsurge in violence, and an official announcement will be made later," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The head of the League monitoring mission said on Friday that unrest had soared this week "in a significant way," especially in the flashpoint central cities of Homs and Hama and in the northern Idlib region.
The violence "does not help ... to get all sides to sit at the negotiating table," General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi said in a statement.
At least 193 people -- mostly civilians -- have been killed in Syrian violence nationwide since Tuesday, according to figures compiled by AFP from information provided by official sources and rights activists.
The 165 League observers were deployed on December 26 after Syria agreed to a League plan foreseeing a halt to the violence, prisoners freed, tanks withdrawn from built-up areas and free movement of observers and foreign media.
None of the clauses in the protocol was respected.