Russia will veto any action at the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Syria or authorise the use of force, according to its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov has said that Russia will block any resolution at the UN Security Council calling for military intervention in Syria, but admitted that Russia would not be able to prevent an actual intervention.

The UN estimates that more than 5,000 civilians have been killed since protests began in March last year.

A team of Arab League monitors entered Syria on 26 December to oversee a deal that would protect civilians and put an end to the violence. Syria let the monitors into the country to avoid the threat of sanctions from the Cairo-based organisation.

So far, the presence of Arab League monitors has failed to halt the violence, with the deaths of at least 10 more protesters on 18 January in the central city of Homs, according to activists.