Syria’s state news agency said the regime rejected the Arab League decisions, which were taken without a Syrian representative present. Syria’s ambassador to the Arab League, Ahmed Youssef, was quoted as saying that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were “living in a state of hysteria after their last failure at the U.N. Security Council to call for outside interference in Syria’s affairs and to impose sanctions on the Syrian people.”

The Arab League has been at the forefront of regional efforts to end 11 months of bloodshed in Syria. The group put forward a plan that Assad agreed to in December, then sent in monitors to check whether he was complying. When it became clear that Assad’s regime was flouting the terms of the agreement and the killings were continuing, the League pulled out the observers last month.

“The time has come for a decisive action to stop the bloodshed suffered by the Syrian people since the start of last year,” Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told the Arab foreign ministers. “We must move quickly in all directions … to end or break the ongoing cycle of violence in Syria.”