Syria warning from former foreign secretary

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Former Conservative foreign secretary Lord Hurd told peers it looked as though "announcement by announcement and step by step" the government was getting "perilously close" to some form of intervention in Syria.

During oral questions on 22 May 2013, Lord Hurd warned the government to apply "essential criteria" before entering the conflict and unless they could be assured that people would be better off then it would be "better to leave it alone".

The UK is pushing for the EU arms embargo against the main Syrian opposition group, the National Coalition, to be amended.

In reply, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi said that "no option [was] without risk" and the UK "cannot stand by where people have been killed and say the best option is to stand back and do nothing".

On 19 May, following weeks of skirmishes and bombardment by artillery and aircraft, government troops backed by Hezbollah militants launched a ground assault on the Syrian town of Qusair.

The determination of both sides to control the town and its surrounding area stems from its strategic importance.

Baroness Warsi said: "Every option that is on the table, and every potential option, carries risks. It is for that reason that we firmly stand by the position that a political solution is the way to resolve this matter."

However, she continued: "Of course, at the same time we cannot just stand by and allow a situation which has led to 80,000 people being killed, half the population of Syria being displaced and where abuse is happening on a daily basis, and say the best option is to simply stand back and do nothing."

A range of topics were raised during oral questions, including daylight saving time, e-books and audio books, and flood insurance for homes.

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