Foreign Secretary William Hague met Syrian opposition figures in London today for what he described as "detailed discussions" about the future of the country.
Mr Hague was the first European politician to meet the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which was established in Doha last week.
Mr Hague said today: "The future of Syria hangs in the balance. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are under attack or are displaced from their homes, which gives real urgency to our discussions."
He added: "The purpose of this meeting is to agree ways the international community can increase political and practical support.
"We should now be able to step up our efforts considerably because of the formation of Syria's new coalition of revolutionary opposition forces."
He emphasised that he had sought assurances that the coalition was committed to upholding humanitarian and human rights law.
Amnesty International UK Syria campaign manager Kristyan Benedict welcomed his comments but said "more than fine words" were needed.
"William Hague must insist on practical actions not just fine words to prevent opposition abuses. We need to see proper accountability with any fighters accused of abuses detained and proper investigations mounted."
The Foreign Secretary also said that he would be in Brussels to discuss Syria on Monday, raising the prospect that Britain may try to argue for lifting the arms embargo.
That would allow it to arm the opposition, an option Mr Hague said remains on the table.
Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German told the Star the British government is "gung ho" about raising the level of intervention in Syria despite its own military advisers warning that an intervention for so-called humanitarian reasons "would cause the conflict to spiral out of control."
With the war in Gaza, she added that we are "very close" to a "qualitative worsening" of the the sitaution in the Middle East and that Britain must take a lot of responsibility for it.
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