British PM warns of 'full-scale civil war' in Syria

22nd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain warned Tuesday that Syria is sliding towards "full-scale civil war," the latest country to raise the spectre of the eight-month revolt escalating into full-blown conflict.

Speaking after talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Today we have had important discussions on Syria where now a full-scale civil war is a real possibility."

Turkey, a one-time ally of Syria turned outspoken critic, as well as the US, Russia and others have already warned that the crisis-hit state is at risk of civil war.

The warnings came after rebel soldiers increased their attacks on the regular Syrian army in recent days, following months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The crackdown by Assad's forces on the pro-democracy movement has left more than 3,500 people dead, according to the United Nations.

Following Tuesday's talks on the first day of Gul's state visit to Britain, Cameron thanked Turkey and the Arab League for showing "welcome leadership," according to a statement released by his Downing Street office.

"That gives us a way to stop the brutality of this morally bankrupt regime," he said.

"The world now needs to get behind this with concerted pressure on the regime and positive engagement with the opposition movements who can represent Syrians in an inclusive transition, and we specifically discussed that today."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday urged Syrian opposition groups to unify to become stronger as he met their representatives for the first time in London.

In Syria on Tuesday, security forces killed 13 people, including five boys in the flashpoint central province of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

© 2011 AFP

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