The emir, whose country supported last year’s NATO campaign that helped Libyan rebels defeat Muammar Gaddafi, is the first Arab leader to propose Arab military intervention in Syria.

And today, a group attacked the car of a group of Arab League observers in Zabadani, firing a hail of bullets, just hours after the observers were welcomed by locals eager to tell them of them of their plight.

This coming Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers will discuss the future of a monitoring mission sent last month to investigate if Syria is respecting an Arab peace plan.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon yesterday ordered Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to “stop killing your people” as the death toll in the Middle Eastern country continues to rise.

At least 5000 people have been killed by Assad’s violent response to the uprising, the UN says.

Syrian authorities contend that 2000 members of the security forces have also been killed. At least 25 civilians and soldiers were reported killed yesterday.

As the killing continued, Ban told a conference in Lebanon: “Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: stop the violence, stop killing your people. The path of repression is a dead end.”

There still remains little Western interest in any Libya-style intervention and Russia and China have blocked any action against Syria by the UN Security Council.

The US, the Arab League and the European Union have announced already announced economic sanctions. Turkey, who once had a good relationship with Syria, has also imposed sanctions on the country.

While the rest of the world wondered what to do about Syria, Assad announced an amnesty for “crimes” committed during the revolt, now 10 months old.

But his opponents said the amnesty was meaningless because most detainees were held without charge in secret police or military facilities with no due process or legal documentation. They say thousands of Syrians are still behind bars and many have been tortured or abused.