UK 'on the back foot on Syria'

The former foreign secretary David Miliband has told ITV's The Agenda that: "We are on the back foot on Syria." Opposition fighters claim to have captured the northeastern city of Raqqa, with crowds toppling a statue of President Assad's father.

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David Miliband: 'We're on the back foot on Syria'

Speaking on The Agenda about the situation in Syria, David Miliband said:

We are on the back foot on Syria. Not just the humanitarian 70,000 people but the geo-politics, refugees in Turkey and Jordan, destabilisation within Syria, the whole state collapsing, the Middle East rocked by essentially by a Saudi versus Iranian proxy war going on in Syria.

I think that is something where the burden of proof is now on those who don't want to intervene rather than those who do. It's still a huge decision, it's still got to be the last resort.

But my fear is this - if we're back in a year's time and we haven't done anything Assad will still be there. He will have murdered another 30,000 people and the ricochet effects from Syria will be much greater.

  • Watch The Agenda tonight at 10.35pm on ITV and join the conversation on Twitter using #TheAgenda.

Statue of Assad's father toppled as 'city is captured'

Crowds in Syria toppled a statue of President Bashar al-Assad's father, opposition sources and a resident said.

Syrian opposition fighters have captured the northeastern city of Raqqa, according to Reuters.

The fall of Raqqa on the Euphrates River would be a significant development in the two-year-old revolt against Assad.

The rebels do not claim to hold any other provincial capitals.

Rebel fighters said loyalist forces were still dug in at the provincial airport 60 km (40 miles) from Raqqa and they remained a threat.

A resident said that a Syrian military intelligence compound in the town was surrounded by anti-Assad fighters.

Read: 40 Syrians killed in Iraq ambush.

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Report: Syrian opposition captures city of Raqqa

Syrian opposition fighters have captured the eastern city of Raqqa, the region's representative at the opposition Syrian National Coalition told Reuters.

If confirmed, the fall of the provincial capital, on the Euphrates River 160 km (100 miles) east of Aleppo, would make it the first major city taken by the opposition since a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad broke out two years ago.

A resident also said the city had fallen and said a Syrian military intelligence compound in the city centre was surrounded by rebels.

He added that crowds had pulled down a statue of President Assad's father in the main square nearby.

Read: 40 Syrians killed in Iraq ambush.

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