The Foreign Secretary William Hague has moved to reassure the UK Parliament that any additional support offered to Syrian rebels will be offered within the remit of international law.
The UK continues to support the Syrian rebels with provision of non-lethal aid, mostly in the form of communications assistance to help the rebels coordinate their positions, as well as offers of body armour and medical supplies.
It is thought the UK will provide around £5m worth of mobile and satellite phones to allow the rebels to overcome a government communications blockade. Mr Hague confirmed that the UK would not provide any military advice or weaponry.
"That's never been our approach in any of these conflicts in the Middle East," the Foreign Secretary said of the UK's support.
"If we were to do that there would be difficulties, there would be risks attached to how that equipment would be used. It would be hard to guarantee how that equipment would be used. There have been reports of atrocities on the opposition side," he added, implying that assisting in that way would put the UK in danger of falling foul with international law.
Mr Hague was referring to reports and film footage coming out of Syria in the past week appearing to indicate that rebels have indulged in humanitarian atrocities every bit as savage as those committed by the Syrian army.
He confirmed that any assistance would be offered primarily to civilians.
"This will help protect unarmed opposition groups, human rights activists, and civilians from some of the worst of the violence," he said.
The UK is obliged to ensure that any aid offered to civilians or rebel groups is consistent with international law, and must not be used by forces perpetrating war crimes.