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Government appears to edge closer to vote on Syria air strikes

David Cameron is thought to be considering a vote on air strikes in Syria. Credit: Reuters

The British government appears to be edging closer to backing air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, after the plight of desperate migrants from the region received global media coverage.

In an interview with Reuters, Chancellor George Osborne hinted that Britain had to do more to tackle the Syrian crisis "at source", as newspaper reports suggested a vote could be called to extend military action next month.

"You've got to deal with the problem at source, which is this evil Assad regime and the ISIL (Islamic State) terrorists, and you need a comprehensive plan for a more stable, peaceful Syria," Osborne said.

"A huge challenge of course, but you can't just let that crisis fester. We've got to get engaged in that."

The comments come amid pressure on David Cameron to take further action - with the former Archbishop of Canterbury lending his voice to calls for an extended military effort.

Syria's foreign ministry condemned the move as British "interference" in its affairs. State news agency SANA said the foreign ministry had sent two letters to UN chiefs which objected to "brazen standpoints" taken by British officials accusing them of having a "colonialist" agenda.

The British government appears to be edging closer to backing air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, after the plight of desperate migrants from the region received global media coverage. In an interview with Reuters, Chancellor George Osborne hinted that Britain had to do more to tackle the Syrian crisis

Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Carey urged the Prime Minister to further current RAF action in order to "crush the twin menaces of Islamic State and al-Qaeda once and for all".

He also called for the creation of "safe enclaves" within the country where civilians could be protected from attack by both sides in Syria's bloody civil war.

The comments follow those of Conservative backbencher and former defence secretary Liam Fox, who criticised "handwringing" over the crisis and urged action to deal with "the root of the problem".

Cameron has repeatedly insisted that he would only allow airstrikes in Syria with parliamentary approval, suggesting a vote could be called at some point after parliament reconvenes on Monday.

Cameron could hold a vote in early October, according to reports. Credit: Blanco Victor J/ABACA/Press Association Images

The Sunday Times reports that the PM is planning a vote in early October, and is also seeking to launch a military and intelligence offensive against people traffickers.

However, with Jeremy Corbyn - an opponent of further military action in Syria - currently bookmakers' favourite for the Labour leadership, it is unclear whether any legislation would pass a vote of MPs.

The debate around Syria intensified after pictures published in the media showed three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi drowned on a beach in Turkey, prompting an outpouring of public anger about the crisis.

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