Colonel Riad al-Asaad wants the Arab League to refer Syria to the UN security council as fighting between defected soldiers and the regular Syrian army of president Bashar al-Assad’s regime appears to be getting closer to Damascus.

Al-Assad said: “We call on them to turn the issue over to the UN security council and we ask that the international community intervene because they are more capable of protecting Syrians at this stage than our Arab brothers.”

His pleas come as senior diplomats meet at the UN today to develop a Security Council consensus on Syria, where the recent bloodshed has made a mockery of a three-week Arab peace mission to the country.

Reportedly, 12 people were killed on Monday in Syria, including a 16-year-old woman and five soldiers who were trying to defect in the north-western province of Idlib.

The UN has estimated that 5000 people have been killed in a crackdown by Assad loyalists. The regime claims 2000 government soldiers have died as army defections have made the opposition increasingly militarised.

The continued killing in Syria has convinced some international powers that they need a new strategy, because they believe a peace plan Assad agreed with the inter-governmental Arab League has failed.

Western Countries in the UN are currently trying to reword a new draft solution floated on Monday by Russia, an ally of the Syrian regime, which has continually tried to block UN attempts to condemn it and to intervene with sanctions.

One diplomat dismissed the resolution re-draft as merely “playing for time” on Syria.

The debate on whether to intervene came to a head in October when Russia and China derailed a western attempt to issue a resolution.

Countries in the Arab world and beyond are reluctant to intervene in Syria because of worries about the potential fall-out from the disintegration into war of a country that is politically and geographically at the heart of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, control over the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has information on the crackdown in

Syria, is under question.

Two rival websites claim to be authentic.