BEIJING - Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby warned on Tuesday rising violence in Syria could tip the strife-torn country into civil war, and expressed support for the peace plan of UN-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan.

Elaraby also said that an escalation in violence in Syria, where 14 months of bloodshed has claimed more than 9,000 lives, could spill to neighboring countries.

"Escalating military action in Syria will end up leading to a civil war in Syria, which no one wants to see," Elaraby told reporters at the League office in Beijing. "I don't think the Syrians deserve something like that."

His comments come after the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said fighting had been so intense in parts of Syria that at times the uprising against President Bashar Assad has qualified as a localized civil war.

Elaraby said the prospect of more violence "gives impetus to support the Kofi Annan plan to make sure the fighting will stop".

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger