Syria crisis: Britain to seek UN Security Council approval for draft resolution authorising use of 'all necessary measures'

Council meeting unanimously agreed that the 'world will not stand by' in the face of 'unacceptable' chemical attacks

David Cameron has announced that the National Security Council agreed "unanimously that the use of chemical weapons by Assad was unacceptable - and the world should not stand by" on Twitter.

The Prime Minister has met with military chiefs today to discuss military action in Syria, in response to suspected chemical attacks last week that killed over 350 civilians.

Mr Cameron chaired the 90 minute National Security Council meeting at Downing Street to discuss possible military plans drawn up in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said the NSC had agreed on a specific recommendation that would be put to government ministers on Thursday morning before parliament debated and voted on Britain's response.

Cameron's office declined to detail what this recommendation was, but a government source said a military strike was one of the options being considered by the NSC.

Turkey has now placed its armed forces on alert to guard against threats from Syria as Western allies weigh military action against President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced.

“We are now at a more alert position ... Turkey will take whatever measures necessary within the framework of its own strategic interests,” Davutoglu told reporters.

“The Turkish armed forces have the mandate to take every measure against any security threat from Syria or elsewhere ... and retaliate within the rules of engagement.”

Nato has since condemned the attack in Syria after Secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms, these outrageous attacks which caused major loss of life.

"Nato allies expressed their full support to the ongoing United Nations investigation. They deplored that the Syrian regime failed to provide immediate and secure access to the United Nations inspectors to the sites of the attacks. The Syrian regime maintains custody of stockpiles of chemical weapons."

He went on: "Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks.

Unusually, every government minister who attended the NSC spoke during the meeting, the same government source said, adding that the attorney general had offered advice on the legality of any action taken and that a senior civil servant had supplied an intelligence briefing.

Jordan has spoken out to insist it would not allow its territory to be used as a base to launch an armed military response against Syria, urging international community to “consolidate efforts” towards a diplomatic solution.

Information minister Mohammad Momani said his country “will not be a launching pad for any military action against Syria”.

Britain will now seek UN Security Council backing for “all necessary measures to protect civilians” in Syria, the prime minister announced earlier in the day.

A UK-drafted draft resolution will be put forward to a meeting of the five permanent members in New York this evening “condemning the chemical weapons attack by Assad”.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Britain has drafted a resolution condemning the attack by the Assad regime, and authorising all necessary measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to protect civilians from chemical weapons.

The Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has hit back in response to threats of military intervention on state television, accusing the West of fabricating reasons to launch an attack. “Western countries, starting with the United States, are inventing fake scenarios and fictitious alibis to intervene militarily in Syria,” he said.

United Nations Security Council, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said today that it seemed "some kind of substance" had been used near Damascus on 21 August killing hundreds of people, but that he awaited evidence from Western powers as well as UN inspectors currently visiting the sites.

Speaking during a news conference in Geneva, he added: “I think international law is clear on this. International law says that military action must be taken after a decision by the Security Council. That is what international law says.

“I must say that I do know that President Obama and the American administration are not known to be trigger-happy. What they will decide I don't know. But certainly international law is very clear - the Security Council has to be brought in.”

The Prime Minister spoke to US President Barack Obama last night ahead of the NSC meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed, where both leaders "agreed that all the information available confirmed a chemical weapons attack had taken place, noting that even the Iranian president and Syrian regime had conceded this." Mr Cameron and Mr Obama also "both agreed they were in no doubt that the Assad regime was responsible", the spokesperson added.

UK Foreign Minister William Hague, who attended today's meeting, had called for the United Nations Security Council to "rise to its responsibilities by condemning these events [in Syria] and calling for a robust international response".

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, he said the use of chemical weapons in the 21st century "cannot go unchallenged", arguing that the UK "cannot permit our own security to be undermined by the creeping normalisation of of the use of weapons that the world has spent decades trying to control and eradicate".

He echoed comments made by Mr Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg yesterday that an allied response must be "legal and proportionate".

Mr Hague continued: “This actual, repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria is a moral outrage, a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a challenge to our common security. We are now weighing with the United States and our other allies how to respond in a way that is legal and proportionate.

The NSC meeting comes as United Nations weapons inspectors resumed their investigations at the site of the alleged chemical attack today, after the team's operation was suspended on Tuesday following concerns over security. The convoy transporting the team into the site was shot at by snipers on Monday when trying to enter the area. No-one was injured.

During a speech marking the centenary of the Peace Palace in The Hague, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said the UN inspectors needed to be given time. He said they needed four days in Syria to complete the investigation, followed by a further period in which to analyse their findings.

Ban Ki-moon nonetheless urged the members of the Security Council to “find the unity to act”, describing Syria as the “biggest challenge of war and peace in the world today”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?