Syria crisis: As it happened

Key Points

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry says Syrian government forces killed 1,429 people in a chemical weapons attack in Damascus last week
  • Germany has ruled out participating in any military strike
  • France's president says a UK vote against intervention does not change his resolve for firm action (All times BST)

    Hello, and welcome to our live coverage of the crisis in Syria. We will report the latest developments after British MPs rejected military action on alleged chemical weapons attacks.


    The US has said it will act in its own "best interests" in dealing with the Syria crisis, following the surprise defeat for the UK government's motion.


    British MPs rejected possible military strikes by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes.


    The US and UK say the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind chemical attacks on civilians in the Ghouta area of Damascus last week - a claim denied by the Syrian leadership, which blames the rebels.


    This from Reuters' editor-at-large Hugo Dixon: "Never in modern history has a British prime minister lost a parliamentary vote authorising military force. Cameron may cling onto power, but his authority at home has taken a hit. So has his standing abroad, and Britain's influence."

    Hassan Hassan, Abu Dhabi

    tweets: The irony of the British parliament striking down the strikes is: democracy 'saved' the criminal dictator who denies it to his own people.

    Doctor Rola

    A BBC team inside Syria has witnessed a fresh horrific incident - an incendiary bomb dropped on to a school playground in the north of the country, which has left scores of children with napalm-like burns over their bodies.


    Conservative MP Richard Bacon - who voted against Mr Cameron - tells the BBC he doesn't think the result of the vote has humiliated the PM. "I don't think that's humiliation - that's democracy," he adds.


    News channel Al-Arabiya TV is quoting Syrian opposition activists saying that government forces have moved their headquarters to the premises of schools and universities. They also say the army has moved dozens of missiles and missile launchers from a military base in northern Damascus as a "protective measure" against a possible Western strike.

    Sam Dagher, Middle East correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

    tweets: Sound of intermittent heavy artillery hitting outskirts can be heard this morning in parts of #Damascus #Syria

    Sure spirit, London

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Instead of sending in the Armed forces to fight in Syria, why don't we spend the money on providing aid and support?


    Meanwhile, UN weapons inspectors are embarking on their final day of investigations before leaving the country on Saturday and reporting back to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.


    Fraser Nelson, writing in The Telegraph, says last night's vote was not just an extraordinary defeat for Mr Cameron, but revealed "catastrophic political misjudgement". He adds: "He put his credibility on the line, and lost. It is a defeat from which he will take some time to recover."


    The UK Chancellor George Osborne tells the BBC he hopes the failed vote did not mark the moment when Britain turned its back on the world's problems. He says: "Do we want to be a country that has a say in how the world is run and the rules of the world such as the rules around chemical weapons or do we want to turn our back on that? And I would hope we stay an open country that is concerned about the rest of the world."

    John, Belfast

    emails: A win for democracy. I truly think the vote at Parliament reflects the will of the people... People seem to be forgetting that a strike will hold repercussions; including possible, even likely, retaliation from Syria, Russia, China and Iran. If history has taught us anything then a British intervention will cause many more deaths than it will save.


    Bookmakers William Hill have cut the odds on David Cameron no longer being Tory Leader when the next general election takes place from 5/1 to 3/1 following his defeat in the British parliament.

    Andy Whittle, Manchester

    tweets: Anyone who was pro war, please tell me why what is going on in #Syria has anything to do with #UK and why we should act now?

    Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East editor

    tweets: "govt shelling into the rebel held suburbs in #Damascus this morning. Huge column of smoke about 15 mins ago, still drifting across sky"


    The BBC's Norman Smith says last night's vote was a "genuine national moment". People are pondering Britain's position in the world, and whether the UK can in future automatically be expected to act as the US's international partner, he adds.

    0952: Breaking News

    French President Francois Hollande says France can take part in any action on Syria, without Britain, Reuters reports.


    Mr Hollande says the suspected chemical attacks caused "irreparable" harm and must not go unpunished.


    The French president says he supports "firm" action to sanction the Assad government and that France is ready, according to Reuters.


    David Blair, the Telegraph's chief foreign correspondent, says UK Foreign Office officials in Beirut have issued a travel warning telling Britons to stay out of Lebanon except on "essential business". The border with Syria is off-limits entirely, he says.

    Jonathan, Sheffield

    emails: I presume those who voted down the motion are content to live in a world where vicious tyrants can use chemical weapons with impunity?

    Chris Stribling, London

    emails: Yesterday marked a victory for common sense and democracy. A watershed moment in our relationship with foreign military intervention. The political elite have bypassed the will of the people before and that is a very dangerous game that they have rightly decided not to repeat.


    Washington says it still has not decided on military action - but what would happen if they did drop missiles or bombs on Syria? Our reporter Tara McKelvey looks at the implications.


    More on the French president's support for an attack on Syria. Francois Hollande tells the daily Le Monde he supported taking "firm" punitive action. He adds: "Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France."

    Syrian refugees pass through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border with Syria, Friday, Aug 30, 2013

    As the crisis unfolds, Syrian refugees are continuing to flee their homes, heading for neighbouring countries like Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.

    1012: Breaking News

    Labour leader Ed Miliband tells BBC News that military action is now off the agenda for Britain. All the focus needs to be on finding "other ways" of putting pressure on the Syrian government, he adds. Britain has learned the lessons of Iraq and if it takes military action in the future it needs to work with other countries. But he stresses the relationship with the US "remains strong".


    Mr Miliband adds that the reason why it all went wrong for David Cameron is because he when he recalled Parliament he was working to a timetable "that others had set".

    Michael, Nottingham

    emails: Just like Paddy Ashdown, I also feel ashamed and depressed that the British Parliament shrugged its shoulders and walked away from Syria. Our weak and pathetic response to the slaughter of innocent civilians has greatly diminished our stature in the world has only served to embolden the Assad regime and other dictators. This is a humiliation for our country.

    Ben Evans, Liverpool

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay We are not America's sock puppet. For once, our elected officials have proven we're not the 51st state. Democracy prevails


    The UK Independence Party has tweeted calling on Foreign Secretary William Hague to resign following last night's vote.

    1019: Katy Watson BBC News

    says there are no plans for a similar vote in the US Congress for or against military action. But the Obama administration is trying to keep lawmakers onside. Top officials including Secretary of State John Kerry held a conference call with senior members of Congress on yesterday evening to brief them on the intelligence from last week's attacks.

    Charlie Baker, St Albans

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay A hangover of fear from the last war over illegal weapons, in Iraq, means democracy fails to do the right thing in #Syria

    Danny Fowles

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Ashamed of my country, to turn a blind eye to the actions in Syria is disgraceful.

    Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East editor

    says that the UN chemical weapons inspectors seem to have had trouble deciding which sites to go this morning. He tweets: "UN CW team seem in several minds abt where to go on last day before they leave. Left car park twice, back in twice...

    "Perhaps steady govt shelling this AM of rebel suburbs made trip there too dangerous."

    David Child, Ipswich

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Milliband is taking the historical role of appeaser in the face of evil. He is a weak populist. History will judge.


    UN inspectors are on their way to a Damascus hospital to visit doctors, a witness tells the Reuters news agency.

    1028: Breaking News
    The US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel

    The US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says America will "continue to find an international coalition that will act together. He adds: "I think you're seeing a number of countries publicly state their position on the use of chemical weapons. We'll continue to consult with our allies and our partners and friends."

    1028: Breaking News

    Germany's foreign minister says it has ruled out taking part in Syria military strike.

    Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East editor

    tweets: "UN inspectors at military hospital now"

    Sam Burn, Bristol

    emails: There's something very wrong about winning political points whilst innocent people are being subjected to hell in their own country. This should never have gone this far, something should have been done before 21st August.


    The Associated Press reports that supporters of the Syrian president in Iran are planning a rally after Friday prayers at Tehran University.


    Last night's vote is dividing the Lib Dems. Paddy Ashdown says the UK is now a "hugely diminished country". But another Lib Dem, Andy Boddington, says "this could be the point where we believe our best interests, and those of the world, lie in using our financial and political resources to promote a world that works without war".

    Ed Miliband

    More from Labour leader Ed Miliband. He says the UK government now needs to press for peace talks with Syria: "I don't think the government should wash its hands of this issue. I think all of the focus of the prime minister and the government in the coming days needs to be working with our allies to find other ways to press President Assad."

    1040: Diane Abbott MP

    tweets: Glad to have played my part in defeating Cameron's headlong rush to war with #Syria. You don't save people by bombing them.


    The Washington Post is reporting that many in the US military have "serious reservations" about any plans to launch a strike.


    Green MP Caroline Lucas says it is "vital" the focus now shifts to humanitarian support for the victims of the conflict. "As a matter of urgency we should be increasing aid to Syria's neighbours to help them support the families forced to seek refuge," she says.

    1044: Adnan Tariq, Manchester

    emails: For the first time in British history, MPs have decided to rely on the United Nations rather than the US over a joint foreign intervention. It's not just Syria anymore, it's a boost in confidence for the voters that we can take our own decisions and are not deputy America

    A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga battalions helps a boy drink from a bottle at the Quru Gusik refugee camp in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on August 29, 2013

    The heads of the UN refugee agency and the World Food Programme praise the regional government in Iraq's Kurdistan region for giving refuge to almost 200,000 people from Syria, including some 47,000 who arrived in the last two weeks.

    1049: Mark Mardell North America editor

    says the UK vote will leave bruises in the US. In his blog, he writes: "Before the vote the administration was fairly sanguine about David Cameron's difficulties and the delay in the UK joining any action. It may be a different story now that it is clear Britain, so often cast as America's poodle, won't take part at all."

    1054: Michael Mosley, Essex

    emails: Why are we a weaker/diminished country for not getting involved in more killing and foreign intervention? Germany has completely ruled out intervention, are they now diminished? This is the first decision in years we have made with our head rather than our heart.


    Dr Mohammed Najjar, a member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition in London, earlier told the BBC he was disappointed by the vote but was still hopeful of support. He said: "We are hoping that the British government will be able to join the US and France in their attack on the Syrian regime after several confirmations from these countries that this regime has used these chemical weapons against civilians."

    1058: Gary, Belfast

    emails: Seems to me very little of Parliament's decision was based on Syria. More about Iraq and aversion to US foreign policy than the needs of Syrians. Sorry Syria we let you down.

    1059: Steve Rosenberg Moscow correspondent, BBC News

    says Russian television has been trumpeting the British vote as a fiasco, a "disaster" for David Cameron - although there's been no official reaction from the Kremlin. He says though that the foreign ministry is expected to be "ecstatic" to see cracks forming in the plans for military intervention.


    You can follow all the tweets on Syria from the BBC's correspondents here.

    1100: Ryan Gregory, London

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay People doubted the efficacy of #StopTheWar marches in 2003. The legacy lives on and democracy is adhered to in true form

    1101: Paul, Leeds

    emails: Ignore all the domestic politics. This comes down to a simple principle - do you allow states to use chemical weapons and where they do, you punish them? MPs more concerned with 'following' public opinion have abandoned their duty to lead and in doing so, have said the UK will not stand against war crimes. Today I'm ashamed to be British.

    1103: Alec Gordon

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay The UK has washed its hands of Syria, not in water but in Sarin


    If you're just joining us, welcome. We are covering all the latest updates on the Syria crisis after UK MPs voted against military action. The US says it will still act in its "best interests". Germany appears to be ruling out a military strike but the French president says his country is ready for any action, which could go ahead without the UK.

    1108: Doug Roper, Cambridge

    tweets: The more I think about last night's vote the more it feels like we are wringing our hands & saying 'nothing to do with us guv' #Syria

    1108: Gregory Evans, Hertfordshire

    tweets: Although 'humanitarian' intervention sounds great in principal we've been down this road before and look where it got us.

    1109: Breaking News

    Russia welcomes UK Parliament's rejection of a Syria military strike, AFP news agency reports.


    Russia is "actively working to avoid any scenario involving use of force in Syria," a Kremlin adviser says.


    Kremlin advisor Yuri Ushakov is quoted by the Interfax news agency talking about whether Russia believes President Assad was behind the alleged chemical attack. "The Americans haven't shown us their intelligence. We don't believe it," he says.

    1113: Cicely Dudley, Manchester

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay So many missing the point. This isn't ignoring Syria, just looking for alt to blind bombing that will kill even more

    1117: The BBC's Kate Benyon-Tinker

    "Syrians in #Zaatari worried West has given #Syria government too much warning and time to prepare, so attacks will have little effect #Jordan"

    1124: Stephen Evans BBC News, Berlin

    says: "The German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked on the phone with US President Barack Obama on Thursday. Her spokesman said she had emphasised the importance of the UN Security Council in deciding what should be done. An opinion poll in Germany earlier in the week indicated substantial opposition to a military attack on Syria."

    1128: Ali Smith, Oxford

    emails: Very glad that Cameron has been denied playing the grand statesman, maybe he'll wake up and start looking after the people who elected him instead. We do not have the resources to rush into policing foreign conflicts indefinitely.

    1130: Breaking News

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron says he will continue to argue for a "robust response" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.


    Read an update-to-date overview of where key countries stand.

    A boy, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburb of Saqba, August 21, 2013 in this handout provided by Shaam News Network

    The international wrangling comes after graphic images emerged last week of what the Syrian opposition said was a horrific chemical weapons attack in the Ghouta area of Damascus. The Syrian government denies being behind the onslaught.

    David Cameron

    Mr Cameron says he is "determined to do things in a different way" to the way they've been done in the past and respect parliament.


    Mr Cameron says he will be speaking to Mr Obama "over the next day".


    The prime minister says the concern over military action "trumped" the outrage over the alleged use of chemical weapons.


    Our Europe editor Gavin Hewitt says France's tough stance towards Syria is motivated by a desire to "muscle it towards agreeing to attend talks in Geneva".


    "The House of Commons spoke and the government will listen," says Mr Cameron.


    The political fallout following last night's vote continues: Here's a round-up of what MPs have been saying this morning.

    1150: Lyse Doucet Chief international correspondent

    speaks of the fear in Jordan that the war in Syria will spill over the border.

    An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on August 26, 2013 allegedly shows a UN inspectors visiting a hospital in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiyet al-Sham

    Videos posted online over the past few days have shown UN weapons inspectors visiting the sites of suspected attacks, and victims being treated in Syrian hospitals and clinics.

    1200: Imogen Foulkes BBC News, Geneva

    says all UN agencies have contingency plans because of a greater outflows of refugees. All are planning to continue their work inside Syria, though under a number of security restrictions. They say there are no discussions about a possible pull-out.

    Steve Rosenberg, BBC Moscow correspondent

    tweets: 'Fiasco', 'Disaster for Cameron', 'Catastrophe for Obama'..Russian TV channels' take on the UK parliament vote.


    As the world waits on the findings of the UN inspectors in Syria, Ralf Trapp, an international disarmament consultant, explains how to investigate chemical weapons allegations.


    Iran, not Syria, is the West's real target, says veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk in today's Independent newspaper. The American missiles, if they arrive, are "intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at the Islamic republic now that it has a new and vibrant president - as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - and when it just might be a little more stable".

    Burns victims

    One of the horrific images captured by the BBC's Panorama team, who filmed shortly after an incendiary bomb was dropped onto a school playground in northern Syria.


    A Syrian activist in the Muadhamiya suburb of Damascus, who wanted to remain anonymous, tells the BBC the opposition feels let down. "All the world did nothing, just watched us dying," he says.

    Ofer, Beer Ganim, Israel

    emails: I'm looking at the international fiasco that is going on around Syria and I'm asking myself as an Israeli can I trust the international community when it says it will stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon, and the answer is I don't.

    Breaking News NBCWashington

    tweets: JUST IN: 50% of Americans oppose taking military action in Syria, according to a NBC News poll.

    1225: Hugh Schofield BBC News, Paris

    says a military alliance between France and the US - without the UK - would be "unprecedented". He says that while French public opinion is not fully convinced by the arguments for action, it is "leadable", and President Hollande is seeking to lead it.

    President Obama

    The New York Times says the sort of military action being considered by the Obama administration would not be enough to force Mr Assad to negotiate a transfer to a transitional government.

    Maria Abi-Habib, Middle East reporter - Wall Street Journal

    tweets: For yrs US begged #NATO partners to invest in their militaries + outed #France as major culprit. Now US only has Paris for #Syria strike


    The Associated Press quotes Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov saying that the US has not shared its evidence on chemical weapons use with Russia.

    1140: Yolande Knell BBC News, Beirut

    says public opinion on punitive action against Mr Assad is split, but there is a general sense that any sort of intervention in Syria would have a negative effect on Lebanon. There has been an increase in sectarian violence even in the past two weeks, including two car bombings outside mosques in the northern city of Tripoli last week... a lot of reminders that Lebanon is caught up in the affairs of its neighbour.

    Craig Woodhouse, Sun political correspondent

    tweets: Labour source says there is a sense of "shock" over last night and that "no one wanted it to be a defeat". So why whip against govt?

    Chuck Todd, NBC News reporter & analyst

    tweets: For my British political friends, wasn't yesterday's Parliament vote a referendum on Tony Blair more than anyone else?

    Tim Reid, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: LD Mike Crockart who voted against govt:"Risks of hasty military intervention are greater than those of stepping back from attack" #Syria

    Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West

    tweets: Paddy Ashdown & other strutting make-believe Napoleons mourn loss of UK World Policeman role that cost UK £50bn & 623 lives in last 10 years

    Tanker off the coast of Iran

    In recent days, the price of oil has reached to a six-month high - and analysts are worried strikes on Syria could push it even higher..


    "You're a disgrace," shouted Education Secretary Michael Gove at Conservative and Liberal Democrat rebels, the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson tells Sky News. Mr Robertson says Mr Gove had to be "persuaded to calm down" following the outburst.

    Lord Paddy Ashdown

    To recap on what happened to the British vote, watch some of the key speeches from the debate on military action in the House of Commons last night.

    New York Daily News

    Here's the front page of today's New York Daily News - a sly reference to the start of the Revolutionary War.


    For those who've just joined us, here's a round-up on the latest developments in the Syria crisis:

    • UK Prime Minister David Cameron says he will continue to call for a "robust response" to alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, despite losing a vote in the Commons on military action last night.
    • Russia has welcomed MPs' rejection of a Syria military strike.
    • UN weapons inspectors have been at a military hospital as part of their final day of investigations in Syria.
    • The US remains prepared to intervene, despite the UK's withdrawal, and France says it is ready to help.
    Occupy London

    tweets: Stop the war national demo re #syria tomorrow assembles 12 noon at Temple in London. protest makes a difference.


    Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans tells the BBC the UK has "thrown the baby out with the bathwater" by failing to agree action against Syria.


    Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary David Davis, who voted against the government, says there was a feeling of "rushing to action" and he had feared strikes would end up "feeding the war, hurting and killing more civilians".


    Asked about the political impact David Davis told Radio 4's World at One "Of course it's a setback for David [Cameron] and that's unfortunate and I wish that were not so but if I have to choose between a policy that might lead to massive numbers of unforseen deaths and a a slight embarrassment to the party well I'll take that."


    More details emerge of which senior Conservatives missed the crucial vote last night. As well as International Development Secretary Justine Greening and Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds, Conservative minister without portfolio Ken Clarke was absent. He blamed "family reasons". International Development Minister Alan Duncan and Treasury Minister David Gauke - both Tories - were also absent.

    BBC political correspondent Norman Smith

    tweets: David Davis says PM will recover from #syria defeat - "We'll have forgotten about this in a few weeks time" #wato


    Syrian hackers behind recent attacks on the New York Times and Twitter are warning media companies to "expect us", the BBC's Dave Lee writes. The Syrian Electronic Army, which supports President Bashar al-Assad, adds it has "many surprises" to come.

    BBC political correspondent Norman Smith

    tweets: FO minister Alastair Burt - "There is no de-railing of our foreign policy on #syria ". Will continue to press for UN resolution #wato

    Alistair Burt

    Speaking to the World at One on BBC's Radio 4 Mr Burt said Britain's authority had not been damaged and it would continue to work through the UN. The Security Council was not functioning in relation to Syria because of Russia and China's approach.

    Protestor outside Russian embassy in Tel Aviv

    A protester uses a megaphone to shout slogans during a demonstration against the use of chemical weapons in Syria outside the Russian embassy in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.


    A BBC correspondent in Damascus says Syrian officials have welcomed the UK government's defeat in the parliamentary vote. Dr Bassam Abu Abdullah of the Syrian Information Ministry said that European countries have gone cold on the idea of military action against Syria because they know the consequences would be too dire.


    German government spokesman Steffen Seibert says it will not make any decision before the UN Security Council votes on Syria: "Our firm conviction is that the international community needs a clear stance on this. That is why we support the UN Security Council in dealing with this serious situation, and we hope that the Council will fulfil their responsibilities."

    UN vehicles carrying UN inspectors

    These UN vehicles - carrying weapons inspectors - are pictured leaving their hotel in Damascus earlier.

    Steve Rosenberg Moscow correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs cttee tweets that if US strikes Syria, Obama should have his Nobel peace prize taken away

    Steve Rosenberg Moscow correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: I suspect, though, that the US President's decision-making on Syria won't be influenced by a tweeting Russian MP.

    Alex Massie, Spectator blogger

    tweets: Basically, this week Ed Miliband has revealed himself as a student union politician, not a statesman-in-waiting.

    1441: Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East editor

    says: "I've spoken to some of the people on the inside of the regime here in Syria who are cock-a-hoop about Britain's decision not to go ahead with joining in an American-led operation against the Assad regime. They believe it counts as a victory for them."


    BBC Monitoring reports that Syrian TV has misquoted Labour leader Ed Miliband as saying the chemical attack near Damascus was the work of rebels. Government satellite news channel Al-Ikhbariyah al-Suriyah quoted Miliband as saying that he "fully understands" that it was "armed groups" (the usual government term for rebels) that used chemical weapons in the Ghouta.


    Reuters is quoting a US official saying an unclassified intelligence report about Syria chemical attacks will be released today.


    Reuters is also reporting that Saudi Arabia, a supporter of the Syrian rebels, has raised its level of military alertness in anticipation of a possible Western strike in Syria. Its defence readiness has been raised from "five" to "two" with "one" the highest, a Saudi military source was quoted as saying.


    And the AFP news agency has just quoted state television saying that Syria will reject any "partial" UN report on alleged gas attacks.


    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says that intelligence gathered by Ankara leaves no doubt that the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were responsible for the attacks, according to Reuters.


    UK charity Save the Children issues a statement on the BBC report on an attack on a school in northern Syria.

    "The BBC's shocking report on the alleged napalm attack on children in a school in northern Syria, shows how schools - which should be places of safety for children - have become targets in this bitter conflict," says humanitarian director Gareth Owen. "In Syria, nearly 4,000 schools have been destroyed, damaged or occupied since the start of the conflict; in many places, children are either too frightened to go to school, or there are no longer any schools to go to." He called for more humanitarian access to all parts of Syria.

    BBC political correspondent Norman Smith

    tweets: Nigel Farage @Ukip calls for UK to end foreign military interventions unless direct threat to UK

    A boy who is a suspected victim of a napalm attack in Syria

    This is one of the children filmed by the BBC in the aftermath of an incendiary bomb in northern Syria. The victims were left with napalm-like burns.


    The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who is in New York, intends to meet permanent member states of the Security Council to discuss developments in Syria at noon local time on Friday (16:00 GMT/17:00 BST).


    Reuters is reporting that US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to make a statement on Syria at 12:30 local time (16:30 GMT/17:30 BST).


    In an interview with the BBC Russian Service in Moscow, the chairman of the Russian Duma's foreign affairs committee Alexei Pushkov says the US is "highly likely" to launch a military operation against Syria, even without the support from UK. He says, however, that "London's refusal to participate in military operations seriously weakens the position of the supporters of the war and makes it difficult for Obama to make a decision on a military strike".


    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has stressed the need to wait for the findings of the UN inspectors and support them in their investigations. Mr Wang said it had yet to be established whether chemical weapons had been used and by whom, the official Xinhua news agency said.

    Steve Rosenberg Moscow correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Don't hold your breath for a Putin-Obama meeting at next week's G20. Kremlin aide says "They'll shake hands & we'll see what happens".


    A twist in the missing ministers saga - development secretary Justine Greening and Africa minister Mark Simmonds both claim they missed the vote on military action because the division bells calling MPs were not working. But the Parliamentary authorities insist the they were working perfectly.

    Dave Brown, Chepstow

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay To say that "The people" have voted against action is insulting. A few with political agendas have voted, not us. #Syria

    Mark Mardell North America editor

    tweets: Obama is holding National Security Council meeting on Syria now. White House aren't saying if this is the moment he will make a decision.

    1552: Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

    says last night's vote changes things for British prime ministers when it comes to their powers in pursuing foreign military action.

    A battery of Iron Dome, a short-range missile defence system, is positioned on the outskirts of Tel Aviv on August 30, 2013.

    The Israeli army has erected its Iron Dome missile defence system in the outskirts of Tel Aviv as the country steps up precautions in the run up to a possible US air strike on Syria.

    BBC New York and UN correspondent Nick Bryant

    tweets: On reports that weapons inspectors are leaving Damascus, #UN says whole team pull-out will be complete by Saturday morning.

    BBC New York and UN correspondent Nick Bryant

    tweets: "End of the special relationship" gets 184,000 Google hits. But admittedly, many headlines were from 2003, 06, 08, 09, 10, 11 and 12.

    A Hezbollah supporter carries the party's flag and chants pro-President Bashar Assad and Syria slogans, during a protest against strike against Damascus, in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Aug. 30

    The Associated Press is reporting that protests have been taking place in the Jordanian capital Amman this afternoon against strikes on Syria. It was attended by supporters of President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah.


    Speaking on the BBC's World at One, former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans said the UK had "thrown the baby out with the bathwater" by failing to agree action against Syria.


    We've created a visual breakdown of how British MPs voted on the government motion.

    Frank Gardner

    Are we looking at the start of World War III? What might happen if America gets involved without Britain? BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner answers children's questions on the Syria crisis for Newsround.

    1623: Assaf Aboud BBC Arabic reporter

    says Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the National Security Committee in the Iranian Shura Council, will visit Syria tomorrow morning to meet Syrian officials. Iranian sources say Mr Boroujerdi will hold a press conference at the end of his visit in light of threats of a military operation against Syria led by the US and other Western countries.

    1636: Carine Torbey BBC Arabic

    is reporting on the protests in Jordan. She says: "Jordanians don't want a Western attack on an Arab country. You can feel the tension growing when you head up north towards the border with Syria. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen and when the strike will occur."

    Andy Carvin, journalist at US radio station NPR

    tweets: Sec. Kerry expected to make a statement about #Syria in a little less than an hour.

    Jeff Hughes in Leigh on Sea, UK

    emails: Personally I'm tired of politicians sending our armed forces to die in foreign countries. As an ex-soldier myself I feel for them dying in pointless wars where in the long run nothing will be gained. Iraq is still in turmoil. As soon as we leave Afghanistan it will slide backwards into chaos again. Will more bombs and deaths help in Syria?


    Danish newspaper Politiken quotes NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen saying that the alleged use of chemical weapons was "a crime that can't be ignored", but that Nato forces would not take part in any action against Syria. "I see no NATO role in an international reaction to the regime," he is quoted as saying.


    The UN inspectors have now left Syria, reports BBC Arabic's Assaf Aboud from Damascus.

    1657: Assaf Aboud BBC Arabic reporter

    says Damascus wanted the inspectors to remain longer to interview more victims of what it says are rebel attacks with chemical weapons.

    Pro-Syria demonstrators burn a US flag as they protest against possible military action against Syria, in Tunis, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013

    Pro-Syria demonstrators burn a US flag as they protest in the Tunisian capital Tunis against possible military action against Syria.


    Labour leader Ed Miliband tells the BBC's Carole Walker that the prime minister must put the issue of Syria "front and centre" at the G20 in Russia next week. He says: "What we've done in particular with the vote last night on the government's proposals is that we have sent a message that Britain is not going to engage in ill thought-through military action without going through the United Nations and without ensuring we have regard to the consequences in the region."

    Syrian refugees arrive at Turkey from Cilvegozu crossing gate at Reyhanli, in Antakya, on August 30, 2013.

    Fresh waves of Syrian refugees are arriving in Turkey as they continue to flee the fighting in their country.

    David Willis reporting from Washington

    'The British aren't coming' - The BBC's David Willis in Washington reports on the response in the US media to the failed Commons vote.

    1724: Assaf Aboud BBC Arabic reporter

    says the leadership team of UN inspectors crossed the Lebanese border this afternoon, but a technical team is still in Syria and is expected to leave either tonight or tomorrow morning after further inspections. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem requested this, insisting that any report which did not include inspections of western villages of Damascus where chemical attacks are alleged to have taken place would be incomplete.


    UN disarmament envoy Angela Kane has left Syria and is making her way to Istanbul, a Lebanese security source told AFP. She arrived in Damascus on Saturday to press for an inquiry into alleged chemical weapons attacks near the Syrian capital.

    1744: Caroline Wyatt Defence correspondent, BBC News

    says: "Some in Whitehall worry that the vote in Parliament leaves the prime minister and the British government unable to deploy British forces rapidly in the future. At NATO, where Britain has long been a key ally of the US, there are also worries about the potential damage done to the UK's reputation as a military as well as diplomatic partner. However, inside the MoD, many argue the US and UK's security interests are too intertwined for last night's vote to be a fatal blow."

    A protester loyal to the Shia Muslim Al-Houthi group, also known as Ansarullah, wears a headband with a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad as he rides a car following a demonstration against potential strikes on the Syrian government, in Sanaa August 30

    Protesters loyal to Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels have been holding a demonstration against potential strikes on the Syrian government in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.


    The BBC's Mohsen Asgari in Tehran looks at Iran's reaction to Syria chemical weapons allegations, in light of Iran-Iraq War.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry

    US Secretary of State John Kerry is making a statement in Washington. He says the US will not repeat the experience with Iraq in its intelligence on Syria.

    1805: Breaking News

    Kerry statement: 1,429 people killed including 426 children in recent chemical weapons attack near Damascus.


    Kerry statement: Syrian regime was preparing for chemical weapons' use three days before attack.

    John Kerry

    John Kerry refers to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as "a thug" and "a murderer".

    Mark Mardell North America editor

    tweets #Syria Kerry says this is about Iran and whether it feels emboldened. Says US credibility is at stake.


    US Secretary of State John Kerry has ended his news conference

    Daniel Sandford BBC News

    tweets: Kerry says "our oldest ally, the French". Deliberate dig at UK?


    US Secretary of State John Kerry said any US military action against Syria would be a "tailored response" to the use of chemical weapons.


    The White House has published its assessment of the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons here.

    Republican Senator John McCain

    tweets: Sec Kerry makes compelling case. Question is, will response be cosmetic or change the momentum in #Syria?

    Air strike in Idlib province, Syria. 30 Aug 2013

    Meanwhile the violence continues in Syria. This image reportedly shows a government air strike in Idlib province today.

    Rachel Thompson, BBC News

    tweets: Booms from govt shelling echo across #damascus as John Kerry gives statement


    President Obama is to speak about Syria during a White House appearance later today with three leaders of Baltic nations, a senior official quoted by Reuters says.


    Reacting to Mr Kerry's speech, David Kay, former head of the WMD-hunting Iraq Survey Group, tells the BBC: "A key element missing is why is this important enough to US national security where we would consider a military attack... about 100,000 died before [in Syria] from conventional munitions and we did nothing."


    More from former Iraq Survey Group leader David Kay. He says "the moral distinction with chemical attacks is not a false one". "You can kill multiples of thousands of people quickly using chemical weapons, whereas doing it with guns, rockets and knives, it takes longer and you have a chance to react and stop it." But Kay questions how a US military strike could prevent chemical weapons being used again in Syria.

    Chris Eccleston in Cheshire

    emails: I can't help but think the outcome of the Commons vote last night would have been different if MPs had been able to hear what John Kerry told the world this afternoon. Surely a gross error of judgement by David Cameron to rush through the parliamentary vote before the facts were put before members.


    At the White House, where he has been hosting a visit by the three leaders of Baltic nations, Obama says he is mulling a "narrow, limited act" on Syria.


    Obama also says the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria threatens US allies such as Israel and Jordan, but he has not made a final decision yet on how to respond, according to Reuters news agency.

    Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

    tweets: John Kerry on Syria referred to 'our oldest ally the French'. Historically true but a sign that UK may feel a cold chill from Washington


    Republican Congressman Scott Rigell, who has circulated a letter that gained 140 lawmakers' signatures urging Obama to have a debate about the use of US military force in Syria, said in a statement: "Though consulting with Congress is helpful, it is in no way an adequate substitute for President Obama obtaining statutory authority from Congress prior to the use of military force, as required by the Constitution."


    Obama: "This kind of attack is a challenge to the world - we cannot accept a world where women and children are gassed."


    Obama: "We're not considering any open-ended commitment. We're not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach."


    Obama says he has had US "military and our team look at a wide range of options. We've consulted with allies; we've consulted with Congress."

    Foreign Policy reporter Mahir Zeynalov

    tweets: "Turkish PM Erdogan says limited strikes on Syria won't be enough, the intervention could be by Friday next week."

    A Syrian in Houston, US

    emails: Many of my relatives were imprisoned, exiled and murdered just because they did not agree with the Assad's ruthless practices. The Assad family have robbed Syria for decades from freedom, dignity and wealth. They are nothing but criminals and should be eliminated. I am sorry the world waited so long. I feel sorry for everyone who lost a loved one and I hope a strong and decisive strike against the Assad regime will commence in the very near future.


    Obama says the White House is offering a classified briefing to Congress, in addition to today's public statement.


    Obama says that part of the US obligation as a leader in the world is to make sure that when a government uses prohibited weapons that they are held to account.


    Obama also took a swipe at the UN Security Council: "What we have seen so far at least is an incapacity at this point for the Security Council to move forward in the face of a clear violation of international norms."

    2013: The BBC's Daniel Nasaw in Washington

    tweets: If Obama asks Congress for approval for a strike on #Syria, it eases the political burden of a decision from his shoulders either way

    2013: The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan

    tweets: ‏"#Obama: Nobody ends up being more weary than me. #Syria."

    2014: Trevor Wheeler in Spalding, UK

    emails: An intervention in Syria would need to be sustained and prolonged to ensure the objectives can be achieved. Slapping Assad's wrists would achieve little when Syria can be rearmed by its own allies. There are many factions including Al-Qaeda waiting to take advantage of a weakened Syria. Is that what we want for the people of Syria?


    At the Atlantic, Garance Franke-Ruta offers six reasons why the Americans are less willing than they used to be to intervene overseas.


    Brendan Buck, a spokesman for US House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, tells the BBC: "If the president believes this information makes a military response imperative, it is his responsibility to explain to Congress and the American people the objectives, strategy, and legal basis for any potential action."


    More from Brendan Buck, spokesman for US House Speaker Boehner: "We - and the American people - look forward to more answers from the White House."


    The Washington Post reports internet service has gone down in Aleppo in Northern Syria. "It's possible that the outages are related to local infrastructure damage."


    A Downing Street spokesperson tells the BBC Mr Obama told Prime Minister David Cameron he "fully respected" the British leader's approach on Syria in a 15-minute phone call between the two on Friday.


    More from the call between Mr Cameron and Mr Obama: "The President stressed his appreciation of his strong friendship with the Prime Minister and of the strength, durability and depth of the special relationship between our two countries. They agreed that their co-operation on international issues would continue in the future."

    2042: Andrew in Clarksville, Tennessee, US

    emails: I do not agree with the idea of using sympathy to allow our military to take action in this case. Why would we attack a country that has been in a civil war for two years? There needs to be a peaceful resolution.


    The UK prime minister reiterated to Mr Obama he still wanted to see a strong response to the suspected chemical weapons attack, his office told the BBC. He also explained the parliamentary process to the US president, who said he understood the PM's predicament.


    The BBC's Suzanne Kianpour says Mr Kerry's statement played to human emotion, when he described how first responders to the attack were "terrified for their own lives"

    2055: CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller

    tweets: "Sen. @SenJohnMcCain says it doesn't appear the US response to Syria "will be equal to the gravity of the crime..."

    A man stands in front of buildings damaged by what activists said were warplanes belonging to forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar Al-Assad in Iskat, near the Syrian-Turkish border 30 August 2013

    The Syrian opposition says government warplanes damaged several buildings in Iskat, near the Syrian-Turkish border


    Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham say: "The purpose of military action in Syria should not be to help the President save face. It should not be merely cosmetic. Instead, the goal of military action should be to shift the balance of power on the battlefield against Assad and his forces."


    Washington Post London correspondent Anthony Faiola asks how the "Churchillian spirit of a nation suddenly turned into a Chamberlain moment, appeasing a tyrant".


    In addition to Mr Cameron, Mr Obama also spoke to French President Francois Hollande on the telephone on Friday, Reuters reports.


    Democratic Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, says he has urged the White House "to send a powerful message to the Assad regime by immediately getting lethal aid to vetted elements of the Syrian opposition. Doing so can change the balance militarily and also contribute to a political solution in Syria."

    2135: Lyse Doucet, BBC chief international correspondent

    tweets: ..strong US voices - Pres Obama, Sen McCain, Sen Levin - all speaking on how US should respond in #Syria ..all with different views..

    A Syrian soldier gives a thumbs-up as he stands on top of a tank alongside two fellow soldiers in the Eastern Ghouta area on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus on 30 August 2013

    Syrian soldiers in the eastern Ghouta area, near where the alleged attack took place

    2138: A Syrian in Dubai

    emails: 100,000 dead, many more injured, two million refugees, chemical weapons used... We have a mad dictator, terrorist groups and a population that is split between Sunnis, Shias and those brainwashed to believe that Assad is their saviour. Throw in a steady stream of weapons from all sides and you have Syria. As a Shia from a relatively pro-Assad city I can understand why the pro bloc is worried: no-one wants to get a Morsi-style ruler and the reality is that elections might bring just that! My verdict - bomb Assad and his cronies, I'll take Morsi over Assad any day.


    Daniel Byman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, tells BBC Mundo's Thomas Sparrow: "America is going to bomb, if briefly, no matter what."

    "The president and secretary of state both raised the issue and highlighted it, without pressure from Congress or from the US public," he says. "The Parliament vote was of course a setback, and Obama wants to avoid any sense that he is rushing into this. But he would be severely criticised if he gave the sense that the UK had a veto over US policy."


    Jacques Myard, an MP from the French centre-right opposition party UMP tells the BBC it would be "a big mistake" to bomb Syria now. He questions whether a limited attack would dissuade the Syrian army from further aggression.

    2158: British Foreign Secretary William Hague

    tweets: "Spoke to Secretary Kerry. He thanked me for the UK's steadfast friendship. United on ending #Syria conflict and use of chemical weapons."

    2200: Pancha Chandra in Belgium

    emails: John Kerry was in total command. He gave a very effective speech which would have sent a very clear signal to Assad and his henchmen that the chemical attacks would not go unpunished. It was evident that Syria has miscalculated very badly. The impending tough response is likely after the weapons inspectors leave Syria and report to Ban Ki Moon. The tragedy unfolding in Syria is a war-crime of very grave proportions.


    Michael Corgan, an international relations professor at Boston University, tells BBC Mundo's Thomas Sparrow the US faces a difficult conundrum.

    "How do we attack something that doesn't bring down the Assad government, doesn't cause collateral damage and doesn't force one of the outside players to try to up the ante to counter what the US has done. No easy answers on this one."

    2218: Roger N Dixon in Durham, UK

    emails: God forbid that we are ever faced with a direct threat which would require Miliband et al to make rapid, bold and decisive military action. He would be too busy completing all the Risk Assessment forms and determining every conceivable consequence before he lit a fuse! His attempted political salvation and triumphal moment is at a huge cost to Britain.


    The Syrian foreign ministry says US Secretary of State John Kerry's claims of Syrian chemical weapons use were "full of fabrication and lies", the Syrian news agency Sana reports.

    A source at the foreign ministry told the agency the US was waging "a desperate attempt to talk the world into accepting the upcoming US aggression".


    Left wing US magazine the Nation makes a case against military intervention in Syria. It argues the US should work with Russia to broker a cease-fire instead.

    "[The] rationale is not only that Assad must be punished for committing an atrocity but that US 'credibility' is at stake - that, having declared the use of chemical weapons a 'red line', Obama will not be taken seriously if he doesn't order military action. But any credibility Washington had in the region was lost long ago."


    Twenty per cent of Americans support intervening in Syria's civil war, up from 9% last week, according to a new Reuters poll.

    But poll analyst Julia Clark says support for action is unlikely rise much further as most Americans were now fully aware of the situation in Syria and have made up their minds.


    This concludes our live coverage of the developments in Syria, Washington DC, London and around the world. Thank you for reading, and for more updates check our website, follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter and watch the latest reports on BBC World and BBC News Channel.


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