Eyewitnesses say at least two Hezbollah guerrillas and five Syrian rebels have been killed in fighting on the Syrian border with Lebanon.
The clash between Shi’ite Hezbollah and Sunni Muslim rebels in a religiously-mixed area south of Homs plays into fears that the sectarian divide across the whole region is deepening.
In Cairo, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called for talks between Syria’s opposition and a delegation from the Damascus government.
Brahimi, a veteran diplomat who helped mediate an end to the civil war in Lebanon, told reporters that any dialogue between the opposition and an acceptable delegation from the Syrian government, even if initially brokered under the auspices of the UN, would be a start to getting out of the dark place that Syria has got into.
He went on to warn that Syria risks becoming a failed state.
Syria’s Prime Minister has also added his voice to calls for dialogue.
Speaking in parliament in Damascus Wael al Halqi called for multi-party talks and vowed parliament would offer safety guarantees for the meetings to be held in Syria.