Downing Street has stressed that no decision has yet been taken to arm Syrian rebels, after European Union foreign ministers last night lifted the embargo on supplying arms to the country's opposition. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said:
The Prime Minister's view is that it is right that we have the flexibility to respond if the regime refused to negotiate. What we are doing is sending a signal, loud and clear, to the regime.
What we need is a transitional regime that is supported by both sides, including the Syrian National Coalition. As part of that process, Assad would have to go.
Fears are growing of an arms race in Syria after EU countries agreed they could arm rebels while Russia could give missiles to the regime.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said a "clear message" had been sent to Assad's regime after the EU decided to lift the Syrian arms embargo.