BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian activists reported military attacks on two towns and said there was no sign of a large-scale troop pullout Tuesday, the day President Bashar Assad was to withdraw his forces from population centers under an internationally brokered truce.
The cease-fire deal hammered out by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was widely seen as the last chance for diplomacy, and its apparent collapse could push Syria even closer to an all-out civil war.
A 13-month uprising against Assad's regime has turned increasingly militarized in response to a brutal regime crackdown. The fighting is also threatening to spill across Syria's borders, raising the risk of a regional conflagration.
On Monday, Syrian forces opened fire across the Turkish and Lebanese borders, killing a TV journalist in Lebanon and wounding at least six people in a refugee camp in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused Syria of violating the border and said his country is considering what steps to take in response, including measures "we don't want to think about." He did not elaborate.
Turkey, which has already given shelter to some 24,000 Syrian refugees, has floated the idea of creating security zones along its border, a step that could drag the Turkish military into the conflict.
Later Tuesday, Annan was to visit the Turkish refugee camp where Monday's shooting took place.
Refugees in the camp were skeptical about making any deals with the Syrian leader, who has gone back on his word in previous failed truce efforts. (AP) --
"We believe in Kofi Annan, but Bashar Assad is not trustworthy," said refugee Dalal Fezo. "He was given 10 days to pull back his troops but he didn't."
Under Annan's plan, a Syrian troop pullback from towns and villages was to be completed Tuesday, with all hostilities to end by 6 a.m. Thursday.
Syria initially accepted the deal, but raised made last-minute demands over the weekend, saying it could not pull back forces without written guarantees that the rebel fighters would lay down their arms.
The Syrian opposition rejected the demand, saying that while it would go along with the truce, it does not recognize the Assad regime and would not issue the requested guarantees.
There were no signs of a large-scale troop withdrawal, though there seemed to be a drop in attacks by Syrian forces, said Rami Abdul-Rahman from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Observatory said regime troops fired shells at the town of Mareh in northwestern Syria on Tuesday. Actvists also said the central city of Homs was struck by mortar rounds and that forces carried out arrests in the Damascus suburb of Harasta. Mohammed Saeed, a resident of the Damascus suburb of Douma, said tanks that routinely patrol the streets were not visible Tuesday.