Syria crisis: UK to open talks with opposition militants
Britain is to break new ground in its response to the crisis in Syria by opening talks with armed opposition groups, as ministers acknowledge that militants are increasingly setting the agenda.
The foreign secretary, William Hague, will announce the move at a conference in Doha. David Cameron will give his blessing to the move, which is to be announced by William Hague at a conference in Doha, when he visits Syrian refugees at a camp in Jordan on Wednesday, on the final day of his Middle East and Gulf tour. More than 360,000 Syrian refugees are registered in neighbouring countries, 110,000 in Jordan.
The prime minister earlier signalled Britain's growing concerns at the "appalling slaughter" in Syria when he declared he would be prepared to allow President Bashar al-Assad to be given safe passage to a third country.
The move was criticised by human rights groups, who warned that it might increase the violence. Kenneth Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted: "PM Cameron, be careful: offering immunity gives Assad licence to kill as many as needed, leaving only if he loses power."