Foreign Secretary William Hague has ruled out military intervention in Syria for now, maintaining that tightening the diplomatic and economic "stranglehold" on the Syrian regime will have a cumulative impact.
Speaking to the Today programme's John Humphrys, Mr Hague said that time is against the Assad regime which has continued to act with "seeming impunity".
While the UK was not "sitting on the sidelines", there were more constraints over Syria than in Libya - there was no authority for military intervention from the UN, the effect on surrounding countries such as the Lebanon, Israel and Saudi Arabia had to be taken into account and military intervention would have to be "on a vastly greater scale" than in Libya.
When asked why the British embassy had not been withdrawn, Mr Hague said that he did not rule it out given the "gravity of the situation" but that "our embassy is not involved in killing people".
The foreign secretary insisted that the UK was "not doing nothing" and recognised the "desperate need" to to get humanitarian assistance to civilians.
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