The Arab League called today for the UN Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for Syria and urged Arab states to sever all diplomatic contact with President Bashar Assad's regime, the League's latest effort to bring an end to the violence that has killed more than 5,000 people. Syria immediately rejected the moves, spelled out in a resolution adopted by League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal conveyed the 22-nation League's deep frustration with Syria, telling delegates that it was no longer appropriate to stand by and watch the bloodshed. "Until when will we remain spectators?" he said. The bloodshed in Syria "is a disgrace for us as Muslims and Arabs to accept." The League called for the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that provides for an immediate cease-fire in Syria, the protection of civilians and overseeing a humanitarian effort for victims of the violence. It demanded that regime forces lift the siege on neighborhoods and villages and pull troops and their heavy weapons back to their barracks. (Read more Syria stories.)