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No new vote on Syria, says Cameron

David Cameron has confirmed he has no plans to go back to the Commons to seek to overturn his defeat over military action in Syria, but insisted that the setback does not mean he can "do nothing" to help those affected by the two-year civil war.

As the United Nations warned that one-third of Syria's population have been forced from their homes by the conflict, Mr Cameron pledged that the UK will "lead the world" in ensuring humanitarian aid gets through.

He will use the G20 meeting of world leaders in Russia later this week to press for help for the refugees as well as progress on diplomatic efforts to secure a stalled peace conference.

The scale of the human toll of the two-year conflict - which has claimed more than 100,000 lives - came in the latest UN figures, which showed 1.8 million have fled to neighbouring countries in the last year.

With another 4.25 million displaced within the country, a third of the population have now been forced from their homes in what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called the "great tragedy of this century".

Foreign Secretary William Hague told the Commons that Britain is already the second-largest donor to humanitarian causes in Syria and promised that "we will do more". Britain remains "highly active" in seeking an end to the violence, he told MPs.

US president Barack Obama has indicated that he is "confident" of getting approval from Congress for a punitive military response by the Americans to the use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad, which killed hundreds of civilians in a rebel-held suburb of capital Damascus on August 21.

Mr Obama is expected to use the G20 meeting in St Petersburg to attempt to rally other world leaders in support of US action - though he is expected to receive short shrift from his host Vladimir Putin, a long-term backer of Assad.

Syria is not on the formal agenda for the summit, but Downing Street made clear that Mr Cameron expects to take part in intensive discussions on the margins of the meeting

Speaking during a visit to Birmingham, Mr Cameron made clear that he is not planning a second attempt to secure parliamentary approval for Britain to join the US in any military strike.


From Belfast Telegraph