Syria: The 'something must be done stage'

Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday morning which will consider the military, humanitarian and diplomatic options for dealing with the conflict in Syria and the growing refugee crisis on its borders.

Mr Cameron believes the bloody conflict Syria is reaching what one of his advisers calls "the something must be done stage" - the moment when the public will demand action to save the lives of refugees massing on the country's borders.

A week ago the prime minister saw one of those refugee camps for himself.

Today, he, the deputy prime minister, the chancellor, the foreign and defence secretaries will be among those attending a meeting which has been presented with an options paper which includes a no-fly zone, Britain supplying anti-aircraft weapons to Syria's opposition and encouraging Gulf and other Arab countries to supply them with arms.

The onset of winter and the creation of a newly-unified Syrian opposition are two reasons the government will re-examine an approach which has, until now, been firmly against intervention. Russia and China remain a block to action agreed by the United Nations.

The prime minister hopes to find a fresh approach which he can persuade US President Barack Obama to pursue with him so that they are not seen to stand aside as thousands die - to repeat what some inside government call "a Kosovo situation".