UK & World News
Syria: Britain Seeks Aid For Refugees At G20
David Cameron has said Britain will lead the humanitarian response in Syria, despite MPs having ruled out military intervention.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Russia, at which the Syrian crisis is featuring heavily, the Prime Minister said scientists at Porton Down, Wiltshire, had found further evidence of a deadly sarin gas attack in Damascus last month.
He holds Bashar al Assad's regime responsible for the assault but said he had "absolutely no regrets" after failing to win support from MPs for a strike against the Syrian government.
Mr Cameron told Sky News he had made a "strong and principled stand against the use of chemical weapons" and would push world leaders to agree to more aid for the millions of people left homeless by the civil war.
"I believe in democracy and you have to respect the will of the House of Commons," he said.
"But that doesn't stop us leading the argument about why chemical weapons are wrong and shouldn't be used, about how we get a peace process going in Syria and about the vital issue of humanitarian aid.
"Every 15 seconds there is another Syrian refugee. Millions of people are homeless and they need our help. Britain will be leading the charge at this summit to make sure they get the help they need."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is attending the G20 summit with UN Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, urged world leaders to agree to an international peace conference to resolve the Syrian crisis.
"There is no military solution," he said. "Only a political solution can bring peace and end this bloodshed."
However, international tensions have dominated the start of the summit in St Petersburg.
US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin smiled and shook hands but relations between the two countries are strained.
Mr Obama said he had "hit a wall" with Mr Putin, who warned the use of force without UN approval would be an "aggression" and a violation of international law.
The Russian president has suggested he would "not exclude" supporting a UN resolution on the use of force in Syria, if Mr Assad is proven to have used chemical weapons against his own people.
However, Mr Cameron said there was little sign of Russia changing its position.
"I haven't seen much evidence of that but I think it is very important the world responds to this appalling attack," he said.
"The best way of doing this is of course to have a UN resolution, a condemnation of Syria and a backing for all necessary measures to be taken.
"But I'm also clear that when America and many others in the world draw a red line over chemical weapons use, if nothing follows then that will be very bad for our world."
The Prime Minister also said Mr Obama had been "very understanding" about the Commons vote and insisted the "special relationship" between Britain and America "is as strong today as it was a week ago or two weeks ago".
Meanwhile, the military presence around Syria is growing, with the US Navy's top admiral insisting four destroyers are "fully ready" for action.
The Syrian government has written to US Congress, pleading with members not to support the use of military force, which it claims could trigger a "bloody, destructive, catastrophic" conflict.
It came as a car bomb exploded in Damascus, killing four people and injuring six others, while 11 people died in fighting in Taftanaz, around 200 miles north of the capital.
Fighting between troops and rebel fighters continued in the regime-held Christian village of Maaloula for a second day.