'Stomach-churning' massacre slammed
Foreign Secretary William Hague is calling for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council over the Houla massacre
The Foreign Office is to issue a diplomatic dressing-down to the Syrian charge d'affaires over a "stomach-churning" massacre of civilians, including dozens of children.
The diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office amid international outrage over the attack on Houla, in central Syria, resulting in the deaths of more than 90 people, including 32 children under the age of 10, according to United Nations observers.
But the Syrian government flatly denied claims that its forces were responsible for the slaughter.
Foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said that Syria is being subjected to a "tsunami of lies" and claimed that anti-government gunmen carried out the attack.
Foreign Secretary William Hague is calling for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to co-ordinate a "strong" international response. Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the council would need "all the options on the table".
After what was one of bloodiest episodes in the country's 14-month-old uprising, gruesome video footage emerged showing rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque with gaping head wounds.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "The scenes of savagery that we have seen on our television screens are revolting, stomach-churning."
Mr Hague said: "It is a familiar tactic of the Assad regime to blame others for what's happening in their country to try to get out of responsibility for the scale of the destruction.
"We are absolutely sickened in the British Government and across the international community by what we've seen over the last few days, in particular about the deaths of more than 100 unarmed men, women and children."
Mr Hague is travelling to Moscow to discuss the matter with that country's foreign minister. "It isn't in the interests of Russia, it's not in anyone's interests, for Syria to descend into an even bloodier situation and into a full-scale civil war and that's now the danger," he added.