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Mon 16 Apr 2012 20:00 BBC Radio 4

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 16 April 2012

The conflict in Syria is transfixing the Middle East. But it is transforming it too. Barbara Plett, the BBC's UN Correspondent, returns to her old patch in the Middle East to examine how the future of the Assads could also shape the future of the region. She charts the influence of neighbouring states over the conflict in Syria, with the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and newly assertive Qatar supporting the rebels. Meanwhile Iran and its allied Lebanese force, Hezbollah, are firmly behind the Syrian regime. And there's likely to be an increasing role for the new Arab democracies.

This power play could spill over into direct conflict or continue to simmer behind the scenes - but its consequences could be dramatic, most directly by affecting Lebanon's fragile political balance. Barbara meets wounded Syrian men in Lebanon desperate to get back over the border to Syria to fight. Residents of Tripoli in Lebanon tell her they are already feeling the effects of heightened sectarian tensions. Could the fighting in Syria explode into a conflict that reshapes the Middle East?

Producer: Lucy Proctor.


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    A collection of Radio 4 programmes on Syria - the conflict and its repercussions.

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