UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations said on Thursday proposals to set up secure safe zones in Syria to help end the 17-month conflict raised "serious questions" and would need to be studied carefully.

Ahead of a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria, France and Britain warned Syria's President Bashar Assad that military action to secure buffer zones for civilians inside the country was an option.

"Such proposals raise serious questions and require careful and critical consideration," Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at the start of the ministerial meeting.

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