Syrian President Bashar Assad today accused the British government of being "naive, confused and unrealistic" in its approach to the conflict in his country.
Mr Assad told the Sunday Times that Britain was sacrificing peace talks in the hope it could scrap an EU arms embargo and give guns to Syrian rebels.
Foreign Secretary William Hague had promised on Thursday to increase support for the Syrian opposition.
Mr Assad said: "How can we ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarise the problem?
"How can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists?
"We do not expect an arsonist to be a firefighter."
He warned of dire consequences if the West armed the rebels, but said he is ready for talks if they lay down their guns.
Mr Hague said Britain cannot afford just to "sit on the sidelines" and watch the conflict continue.
He refused to rule out arming the rebels and called Mr Assad "delusional."
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