Fighting continues in Homs according to the latest unverified footage. Activists claim Syrian troops are trying to weaken rebel forces ahead of a ceasefire deadline next week.
On the diplomatic front, an advance team from the UN peacekeeping department is expected in Damascus within 48 hours to discuss deployment of observers to monitor the much promised truce.
As part of Kofi Annan’s peace plan, some 250 unarmed UN peacekeepers are planning to go to Syria although that will require a Security Council resolution – and on past efforts that will not be easy.
“The Security Council has been shamefully and woefully divided on the issue of Syria and unable to adopt resolutions that even would entail relatively modest action,” said US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.
In a second initiative, the chief of the International Red Cross has been in the Syrian capital to secure agreement on implementing a daily two-hour pause in attacks to provide humanitarian assistance.
But on all counts Western diplomats remain sceptical as Syria has repeatedly promised to end its year-long assault on civilians opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.