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Syria crisis enters 'new phase' after Assad ignores UN deadline

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"Turkey will try to use this event as a strong proof to activate the international system and show that Syria is hopeless and that something needs to be done," says Prof. Gokhan Bacik, director of the Middle East Strategic Research Center at Zirve University in Gaziantep, Turkey.

"I do not think Turkey would be ready for any unilateral action," says Prof. Bacik. But "any bad development along this border is emphasizing Turkey's [predominant] position more and more. If things get more dramatic, then it will become a very, very difficult situation for Turkey."

Turkey vows to take 'necessary measures'

On Sunday, Annan called "unacceptable" the escalation of violence before the pullout deadline. The Syrian National Council says 160 people were killed in Syria yesterday alone, with as many as 1,000 killed over the past eight days, according to the Associated Press. Activists also reported that shelling continued in the city of Homs today.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Moallem sought to highlight the "positive steps" Syria had taken in keeping with some requirements of the Annan plan. He said today in Moscow that Syria had "pulled out some military units" from some areas and allowed "more than" 28 media organizations into the country since March.

Mr. Moallem had just met Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Syria's most powerful backer, which along with China has vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions against Syria. Mr. Lavrov limited his criticism to saying that Syria's peace plan actions "should have been more decisive."

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