Middle East

British PM to hold Syria 'options' meeting: report

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron waits to greet his counterpart from Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, as she arrives for a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron was to chair a meeting of senior cabinet colleagues on Thursday to discuss Britain's military, humanitarian and diplomatic options in Syria, the BBC reported.

Cameron's deputy Nick Clegg and finance minister George Osborne were expected to attend the meeting along with Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

The report said a no-fly zone was among the options that may be discussed as well as supplying anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Cameron visited the Zaatari refugee camp, home to some 36,000 Syrian refugees, in Jordan last week.

Downing Street did not immediately confirm that the meeting was taking place.

On Tuesday, France became the first Western power to recognise the newly-formed opposition National Coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people and said the question of arming them must now be reviewed.

Britain and France spearheaded what later became NATO's operation to oust Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The United States and Britain have both voiced support for the Syrian opposition coalition, which formed in Qatar on Sunday, but have stopped short of declaring it a government-in-exile.

More than 39,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad's regime erupted 20 months ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said on Thursday.





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