Syria crisis: As it happened

Key points

  • British MPs rejected a government motion to support the principle of military intervention in Syria
  • In response the White House said the US 'will continue to consult' with Britain - 'one of our closest allies'
  • The five permanent UN Security Council members met briefly, but diplomats said they remain "far apart" on Syria
  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his country will defend itself against Western aggression
  • All times in GMT

Live text


  • Sean Clare 
  • Sitala Peek 
  • Ed Lowther 
  • Sarah Fowler 
  • Joe Boyle 
  • Nina Lamparski 
  • Jastinder Khera 

Last updated 30 August 2013

BREAKING 2133 Breaking News

The UK government has lost the vote on Syria by 285 votes to 272.


Hello, and welcome to our live coverage of the crisis in Syria. International wrangling continues over military intervention in Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons. Britain and the US are due to debate the issue within their own governments. Meanwhile, the UN says its weapons inspectors in Damascus are due to wrap up investigations into the alleged chemical attacks on Friday. Follow us for updates as they happen, expert analysis and colour from BBC correspondents, and comment from you, our readers.


British MPs will convene in parliament today to debate military action in principle only, after the opposition blocked government plans for an early vote on intervention.


On Wednesday the UK presented the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with a resolution seeking to authorise "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Syria.


But Russia blocked the resolution, saying there was no point in discussing anything until UN inspectors had finished their probe in Damascus and solid evidence had been presented.


French President Francois Hollande has held talks with Syrian opposition leaders, including the head of the Syrian National Coalition. Speaking afterwards, President Hollande said last week's suspected chemical attack in Damascus required what he called an appropriate response from the international community.


President Hollande said the Syrian opposition needed practical help from other countries if it was to succeed: "Everything should be done to reach a political solution, but this solution will not materialise until the coalition is capable of standing as an alternative with the necessary force, especially the force of its army. And we will not reach this solution until the international community is capable of halting this escalation of violence and this chemical [weapons] massacre."


Angry Bloke

tweets: As oil gets harder to find middle east conflicts become more frequent and the western vultures circle overhead, hmmm how odd!


The debate in the UK's House of Commons will start shortly after 13:30 GMT (14:30 BST). The House is being asked if it "agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria's chemical weapons".


UN weapons inspectors leave their hotel in Damascus (29 August 2013)

UN weapons inspectors are seen here leaving their hotel in Damascus on the third day of their probe into the alleged chemical attacks. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the experts will finish their investigations on Friday and leave Syria on Saturday.