UK to recognise Syrian opposition?

The government is considering whether to follow France by officially recognising the Syrian opposition and working to lift the EU embargo which prevents the supply of arms to the rebels fighting President Assad's forces.

Sources say a decision could come next week.

The government's approach was discussed at this morning's meeting of the National Security Council although no final decision was taken.

Tomorrow the Foreign Secretary William Hague will meet the leaders of the Syrian opposition in London.

On Monday he will meet his French counterpart at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels.

France is the only western country to have officially both recognised the Syrian opposition and to have called for the lifting of the EU embargo in order to "defensively" arm them.