Leon Panetta

Last night’s comments from Leon Panatta, the US defence secretary, that the US was considering equipping Syrian rebels, triggered interest on this side of the Atlantic too.

Panetta insisted, as has the UK, that taking military action against Syria without agreement from the UN would be a “mistake”, but he acknowledged the Obama administration was considering providing communications equipment and other “non-lethal” support – something that has not previously been given.

So when William Hague was quizzed by the foreign affairs select committee this morning, it was the perfect chance for the MPs on that committee to ask if Britain would so the same. We have always ruled out arming the rebels – Philip Hammond repeated the view today that to do so would be illegal – but could we provide any “non-lethal” equipment?

Hague revealed that the UK is actually already doing so – to an extent: Read more