There are growing concerns that Syria's sectarian-tinged civil war could spread beyond its borders. Mr. Assad's regime is largely backed by the heterodox Alawite sect he belongs to, and is largely opposed by Syria's Sunni Arab majority. There has been scattered fighting between Alawites and Sunnis in Lebanese city of Tripoli recently, and some fear the regional implications are growing.
Smuggled guns are filtering into Syria but it is not clear if Arab or other governments are backing any such transfers. Iraqi security officials say there are signs Sunni Muslim insurgents are beginning to cross the border to join Syrian rebels. Smugglers are cashing in as prices double for weapons reaching Syria concealed in commercial traffic.