Fierce attacks on Syrian opposition neighbourhoods marked the run up to a dawn deadline set for all sides to observe a ceasefire.
Six am local time came and went, but without independent monitors it’s difficult to verify activity on the ground.
In Washington where G8 foreign ministers are meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced their scepticism over whether a truce would hold after Syria said it reserved the right to respond to attacks.
“We are alarmed for the ongoing violence in Syria and we are concerned about the problems facing Special Envoy Kofi Annan as he attempts to bring about a ceasefire and the end to violence.”
Yesterday Annan warned of ‘unimaginable consequences’ if the violence continued as he went to Tehran to win backing for his peace plan.
Iran – a long time ally of the Assad regime – has given its support as long as there is no word of forcing regime change.
But few in the Syrian opposition believe Assad has any intention of complying long-term with Annan and his mission to end 13 months of bloodshed. If no progress is made, the Syrian National Council has called for Assad to be given an international ultimatum.