DAMASCUS - Syria has lashed out at Saudi leaders, accusing them of being behind the country’s more than two-year armed uprising, according to statements published on Wednesday.

“The violence in Syria is being caused by Saudi arms, Saudi money and terrorists linked to Saudi Arabia,” said Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi.

Zohbi also said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had “Syrian blood on his hands”.

Speaking in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, Faisal had slammed the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah and Iran for starting a “foreign invasion” of Syria.

Hezbollah, which supports Assad and is backed by Iran, has entered into Syria’s fighting in full force, helping the regime secure advances in the central province of Homs and near Damascus.

Reacting to Faisal’s comments, Zohbi said: “Saudi diplomacy is faltering... and it has no place in a political solution for Syria”. He also said Faisal’s calls for action were just “dreams”.

Meanwhile Syria’s ruling party mouthpiece Al-Baath newspaper described Faisal as “crazy”. “Faisal’s statements... prove not only that he has become senile and out of touch with reality, but that the Wahhabi regime is falling apart,” said Al-Baath. More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria, a watchdog said in a new toll on Wednesday, as diplomats said a proposed peace conference in Geneva will likely be delayed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors on the ground in Syria, said the death toll was now 100,191 people.

That figure includes at least 36,661 civilians, more than 3,000 of them women and more than 5,000 of them children under the age of 16.

The new toll came after the United States and the UN’s peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said a timeline for a proposed peace conference in Geneva would almost certainly slip. The conference to discuss a political resolution to the Syrian conflict has been backed by the United States and Russia, despite their support for opposing sides in the war.

The meeting was initially expected to take place in June, a date then pushed back to July, but Brahimi said Tuesday that further delays were likely.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday ruled out a military solution for Syria, saying its conflict does not resemble Libya’s while calling for a settlement based on last year’s Geneva peace plan. “This is not Libya. It is very different in many, many ways,” Kerry told reporters in Kuwait City in response to a question on why there had been no military intervention in Syria as during Libya’s 2011 armed uprising.

Kerry made the remarks after holding talks with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.

He said that unlike Libya, foreign forces including the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah had intervened in Syria, while Russia was supplying the regime with arms.

Kerry warned the fighting in Syria could lead to the destruction of the state, the collapse of the army and a total breakdown of a sectarian strife for many years to come. “That becomes far more dangerous for all the region because it will empower extremists... and the potential increase of terrorism,” which is not acceptable to the civilised world.

“There is no military solution here... We need to reach out for a diplomatic solution” through negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva, said Kerry.

Such talks would seek to implement the “Geneva 1 communique which requires a transition government in a neutral environment,” he added, referring to the 2012 peace plan backed by Russia.

The United Nations said Tuesday that Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are to meet next week in Brunei to discuss how to move forward towards a new international peace conference for Syria. Kerry also called on Iran to pull its troops out of Syria and for Hezbollah to return to Lebanon. In Washington, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the United States was eager for the meeting to go ahead but could not “put a timeline on it.”

“We want to have this as soon as possible, we’ve been clear about that,” Ventrell said.

“Clearly, the situation on the ground, clearly, the regime’s continued avoidance of this real discussion, are serious impediments.”

“I’m just not going to put a timeline on it, but we think that it’s an important process, and we’ll continue to pursue it.”

The Syrian regime has said it is willing to attend any peace meeting, but has insisted it will not be going to Geneva to hand over power and that President Bashar al-Assad will not resign.