UK to send armour to Syria

The UK is to supply armoured vehicles and body armour to Syria opposition forces in a bid to end a crisis that has reached "catastrophic proportions", Foreign Secretary William Hague said today.

UK vows to help 'moderate' Syrian opposition groups

Britain stepped up its help to Syria's opposition today, stopping just short of supplying weapons.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague says the government will be sending armoured vehicles and body armour.

But the difficulties of whether and where to direct help were made clear today when Syrian rebels captured a convoy of United Nations peacekeepers.

Special Correspondent Rageh Omaar reports.

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Arab League invites Syrian opposition to meeting

The Arab League has asked Syria's main opposition bloc to choose a representative to attend its meeting in Doha later this month, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

The influential group comprising representatives from 22 Arab countries has been discussing whether to offer Syria's seat to an opposition figure instead of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Damascus was suspended from the Cairo-based League in November 2011, eight months into the civil war.

Some members of the Arab League are thought to have opposed offering the vacated seat to the Syrian National Coalition.

West 'not advocating military intervention' in Syria

Foreign Secretary William Hague said that no Western nation advocated military intervention in Syria.

Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard during fighting with Syrian troops in a suburb of Damascus
Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard during fighting with Syrian troops in a suburb of Damascus Credit: PA

"No Western government is advocating military intervention of Western nations into the conflict in Syria," Hague told parliament. "The discussion is entirely focused on the degree of assistance that can and should be delivered to the opposition."

Hague: 'We cannot step back from Syria crisis'

Announcing an increase in UK support to the Syrian opposition the Foreign Secretary said;

"We cannot look the other way while international law and human rights are flouted. We cannot step back from a crisis that could destabilize the heart of the Middle East. And it would be the height of irresponsibility to ignore potential threats to our own security."

Outlining the "next step" in UK support to Syria William Hague stressed that, "there may well have to be further steps."

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William Hague: International policy on Syria an 'abject failure'

William Hague told the House of Commons that the international community's policy on Syria has been an "abject failure".

The Foreign Secretary said £3 million had been allocated this month for the work with another £10 million to follow - urging other countries to do the same.

"The Cabinet is in no doubt that this is a necessary, proportionate and lawful response to a situation of extreme humanitarian suffering, and that there is no practicable alternative," he said.

Mr Hague was also keen to stress that more action may be required in the future, saying, "This is a situation where extreme humanitarian distress and growing international peace and security must weigh increasingly in the balance against other risks."

Adding that, "in our view if a political solution to the crisis in Syria is not found and the conflict continues, we and the rest of the European Union will have to be ready to move further and we should not rule out any option for saving lives."