West willing to offer Assad clemency if he joins peace talks

With daily reports of civilian deaths and the conflict apparently taking on an increasingly sectarian hue, Britain is willing to discuss giving clemency to Assad if it would allow a transitional conference to be launched. He could even be offered safe passage to attend the conference.

One senior UK official said: “It is hard to see a negotiated solution in which one of the participants would be willing voluntarily to go off to the international criminal court.” It was stressed Cameron had not made a final decision on the matter.

During talks at the G20, British and American officials were convinced Putin was not wedded to Assad remaining in power indefinitely, although even this limited concession is disputed in Moscow.