18 Jan 2012

MP describes 'horror' in Syrian city

1:31 pm on 18 January 2012

A member of Syria's Parliament has become the highest-ranking official to abandon the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Imad Ghalioun, who has represented the city of Homs for five years, defected to Egypt with his immediate family two weeks ago, CNN reports.

Mr Ghalioun told the broadcaster that Homs as a "ghost town full of horror".

"The humanitarian situation is dangerous and no basic services, food supplies, or equipped hospitals.

"Residents can not move from one neighborhood to the other because of snipers that kill people."

Meanwhile, the Syrian government has rejected a call from the Gulf state of Qatar for Arab soldiers to be sent to end the violence in Syria.

A foreign ministry statement said such a move would worsen the crisis and pave the way for foreign intervention, the BBC reports.