Last updated: 15 November, 2012

Cameron to hold Syria options meeting

Senior British ministers and armed forces officials met on Thursday to discuss the government’s military, humanitarian and diplomatic options in Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

“The National Security Council has met this morning. We have discussed the grave and worsening situation in Syria,” Hague told reporters at the Foreign Office.

Hague did not specify the options discussed at the meeting, which British media said may have included a no-fly zone and the supply of anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He said he would provide an update of the government’s “views and intentions with regard to the conflict in Syria” in parliament next week.

“More immediately, I will be meeting tomorrow some of the leaders from the new opposition coalition from Syria and we will want to discuss with them their way forward,” Hague added.

France became the first Western power to recognise the newly-formed opposition National Coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people on Tuesday and said the question of arming them must now be reviewed.

Britain and France spearheaded what later became NATO’s operation to oust Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The United States and Britain have both voiced support for the Syrian opposition coalition, which formed in Qatar on Sunday, but have stopped short of declaring it a government-in-exile.

British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Zaatari refugee camp, home to some 36,000 Syrian refugees, in Jordan last week.

More than 39,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad’s regime erupted 20 months ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said on Thursday.