The Syrian army has begun a major offensive in the northwest with dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers storming several towns and villages on the Turkish border.
Despite bluster from Ankara there is little sign Damascus is scaling down its repression of the Syrian opposition. Bashar al-Assad is now hunting down army defectors that may run into the hundreds, some of whom have been seeking refuge in Turkey.
The army is focusing on the region of Jabal al-Zawiya, but the opposition also claims mass arrests of its supporters are increasing around the country.
The US, French and British ambassadors paid their respects at the funeral of a demonstrator in a Damascus suburb, and there was a large funeral in the southern village of Douma for a teenager shot dead by government forces. Some people carried the Qatari flag, in recognition of the Gulf state’s criticism of the regime.
However the Russian foreign ministry today warned terrorism might benefit if Assad lost power.