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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 08:46 UK

Syrian conflict 'going to get very nasty'

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Tensions along Syria's borders have heightened as doubts intensify about an international peace plan due to come into effect today.

Syrian government tanks are reported to have resumed their shelling of the city of Homs this morning, in apparent defiance of a peace plan brokered by the international envoy, Kofi Annan.

The BBC's Jonathan Head reports from the Syrian border with Turkey and told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that gunshots were fired across the border to Turkey resulting in around 20 injuries which is all part of "an escalation of fighting".

"Restraint has gone," he said with fighting happening right up to the border.

He said that in the refugee camp that he was there was "no faith left at all in the international diplomatic process".

Manhal, an activist living in Hama, describes how the army is still on the streets, targeting everyone in the streets especially the areas where there were demonstrations against the regime.

He said that "snipers are still over the roofs of hospitals and the schools. They are targeting everybody who are walking at night. The regime is not following the plan" referring to President Assad's promise to withdraw his forces.

Manhal maintained that this was punishment for those protesting against the regime. "The critical situation is that civilians can not get to the hospitals," he said.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK's ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2003, said that it is "extremely unlikely regime" will pull back adding that the regime has made a mistake in not adhering to the Kofi Annan peace plan because it could have given the Syrian government the chance to remain in power with international agreement.

He went on to say that contravening the border with Turkey is "dangerous" because they are most likely to take action.

"Politics underlying the Kofi Annan plan are not in place for a longer-lasting solution", he continued.

Henry Hogger, British ambassador to Syria between 2000 and 2003, said that it would not be surprising that the advice that Iran would be giving to Syria is to "tough it out and you will come through in the end" as that is how Iran dealt with its own uprising.

Sir Jeremy said that "I do not see this regime surviving and doubt whether normal diplomacy is going to do much good".

Henry Hogger, agreed with Sir Jeremy in that the prospects are for more violence as the regime struggles to keep control.

He also pointed out that economic factors are going to become more of an issue because under international sanctions, oil and tourism have "more or less dried-up".

He maintained that "it is just a matter of time before economic pressures bring down the regime".

Sir Jeremy finished by saying that the violence would gradually increase and "it is going to get very nasty".


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