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Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Saturday, 28 January 2012

'Worst yet to come' in Syria


The diplomatic pressure is being ratcheted up against President Assad of Syria and so is the pressure inside the country, as the head of an Arab League monitoring mission said unrest had soared this week "in a significant way".

Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has been in Syria for the past ten days, and gets the feeling that the "worst days" still lie ahead.

Shashank Joshi, Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, says Syria is protected by a "diplomatic shield" put forward by Russia. Loyalty is on a much larger scale for President Assad than it was for Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, he points out.

It is hard to see how a "fractured and dispersed" rebel force can succeed, he adds, a situation much more akin to the civil war in Iraq than to Libya.

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