UK making contingency plans for military action in Syria
on 27/08/2013 10:24:17
Earlier, Russia had warned the West that any military strike against Syria may have "catastrophic consequences".
Moscow said the United States and its allies must show "prudence" over its response to last week's apparent chemical weapons attack in which several hundred people were killed.
But Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has appealed for restraint.
UN inspectors are beginning a second day of investigations into the attack after they were targeted by snipers yesterday.
Western leaders are now weighing up their options, with British Prime Minister David Cameron due to respond to calls for a debate on the crisis.
Mr Cameron will continue talks with international leaders to agree a "proportionate response" that will "deter" Bashar Assad's regime from using toxic agents on the Syrian population, officials said.
No 10 indicated that a decision could be taken before the results of a report by UN weapons inspectors into the attack is produced but insisted any response would adhere to international law.
A decision on whether to recall the UK's Parliament this week will be made later today, officials said.
Downing Street said all options were still on the table but insisted that no decision has been made over what form of action to take.
A spokesman said: "No decision has yet been taken. We are continuing to discuss with our international partners what the right response should be, but, as part of this, we are making contingency plans for the armed forces."
The Prime Minister is returning early to Downing Street from a family holiday to prepare for a national security council (NSC) meeting tomorrow which will discuss possible UK involvement in using force.
MPs are due back from their summer break next Monday but Labour and a growing number of backbench MPs from all parties - including many Tories - are demanding a chance to debate the situation more quickly.
No 10 refused to be drawn on whether any debate in Parliament would include a vote by MPs.
"We will make an announcement later today about whether or not there will be an early recall to discuss these issues.
"The Prime Minister is back in Downing Street looking at it today, but I think that, throughout, any action that is taken on the basis of the discussions that we have with our international partners and allies, that any action that is taken that we make a clear case for why that action is being taken."
Syria accused Mr Kerry of lying by claiming there is ''undeniable'' evidence of a large-scale chemical weapons attack in Syria likely carried out by the regime.
A statement on the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency says Mr Kerry's insistence on "jumping over" the work of UN experts in Syria shows that the US has deliberate intentions to exploit events. The statement said Mr Kerry has "fabricated" evidence.