Aid agencies in Damascus tell ITV News International Editor Bill Neely that they are struggling to cope with the growing humanitarian crisis
Britain today summoned the Israeli ambassador amid deepening international anger at fresh Israeli settlement expansion plans.
The Foreign Office does not deny reports that that Britain and France are considering withdrawing their ambassadors from Israel.
The United Nations said there are at least 1.5 million Syrian refugees but the real number "is much higher."
A United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) statement said: "The fact that more than 1.5 million have registered or have appointments with UNHCR sadly means the actual number is much higher.
"Refugees tell us the increased fighting and changing of control of towns and villages, in particular in conflict areas, results in more and more civilians deciding to leave."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has renewed his request for complete access to Syria for the UN team investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country.
Speaking in New York, he said: “A credible and comprehensive inquiry requires full access to the sites where chemical weapons are alleged to have been used. I again urge the Syrian authorities to allow the investigation to proceed without delay and without any conditions,”
The initial focus of the investigation will be the alleged use of chemical weapons in Kfar Dael region in Aleppo governorate.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has condemned the Boston Marathon blasts:
In an unprecedented move, the heads of the leading humanitarian UN agencies have published a joint appeal calling for an end to the suffering in Syria.
The heads of UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR, WHO and UNOCHA are calling for greater urgency amongst the governments and parties who could use their collective influence to find political solution to the crisis.
In a statement they said: "Our appeal today is not for more resources, needed as they are. We are appealing for something more important than funds. To all involved in this brutal conflict and to all governments that can influence them:
"In the name of all those who have so suffered, and the many more whose futures hang in the balance: Enough! Summon and use your influence, now, to save the Syrian people and save the region from disaster."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a team to investigate claims of chemical weapons use in Syria would be ready to deploy within 24 hours and urged the Syrian government to give the go-ahead so work could begin.
Ban said an advance team had been sent to Cyprus. "We are ready, it is a matter of time," he said. The full team will consist of 15 experts, including inspectors, medical experts and chemists.
"All we are waiting for is the go-ahead from the Syrian government to determine whether any chemicals weapons were used, in any location," Ban said.
Events are taking place around the world to mark World Water Day 2013.
This year's theme is about water cooperation - whether at the local scale in deciding how water should be apportioned, or at the international scale where resources cross borders.
Here are some facts the UN has released to spread awareness of the problem:
- Three-and-a-half planets would be needed to if the whole population was to attain the living standards of an average European.
- Almost 800 million people do not have access to clean water; almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.
- Between six and eight million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the United Nations will launch an investigation - as requested by the Syrian government- into allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria.
"I have decided to conduct a United Nations investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria", Ban told reporters.
He said the investigation will look into "the specific incident brought to my attention by the Syrian government".
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has offered his "heartfelt congratulations" to Pope Francis. In a statement he said:
– Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary-General
I look forward to continuing cooperation between the United Nations and the Holy See, under the wise leadership of His Holiness Pope Francis.
We share many common goals – from the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights, to the eradication of poverty and hunger – all core elements of sustainable development.
We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue. I am certain that His Holiness will continue to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, in the promotion of inter-faith dialogue ...
The United Nations envoy to Damascus has said that 21 UN peacekeepers captured by Syrian rebels and held for three days in a southern Syrian village have entered Jordan, according to the Associated Press.