Tony Blair has strongly rejected claims that the 2003 US-UK invasion of Iraq was to blame for the current crisis gripping the country, pointing the finger instead firmly at the Maliki government and the war in Syria.
The leaders of Syria's western-backed opposition are to unveil plans on Wednesday to rapidly move hundreds of millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid into the most deprived areas of the country.
Syria's most senior diplomat in Britain has quit on the grounds that he is "no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts against its own people".
Syrian government troops backed by helicopter gunships fought armed rebels across Damascus on Tuesday in some of the fiercest fighting since the start of the uprising, as Russia made clear it would veto a new western-backed UN resolution calling for punitive action against the Assad regime.
The most intense clashes seen in Damascus since the start of the Syrian uprising flared on Monday as loyalist units and guerilla forces battled near the city centre.