The United Nations Security Council has drafted a resolution for members to vote upon that will authorize the deployment of military observers to monitor a cease-fire that appears to be failing.
The vote by the 15-nation Security Council was set to be held in New York at 11:00 a.m. local time to consider a resolution that combines Russian and European clauses.
Although preliminary agreement on a draft was reached on Friday, there were fears this would not hold, with council members required to seek final approval from their respective capitals overnight. A small advance mission of observers has already been sent to Syria.
"It's possible not everybody will have instructions at that point," US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters.
"It's possible there will not be an agreed text at that point, we'll see, and we'll regroup accordingly," said Rice, who is currently president of the council.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin appeared more optimistic.
"I hope there's going to be a unanimous vote tomorrow," said Churkin. "The Syrian government and the opposition must know that the Security Council will be authorizing the full-fledged mandate so we hope it's going to send a strong and good political signal."
As well as the deployment of observers, the draft urges Syria to implement various pledges under a six-point plan drawn up by UN-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan.
Compromise threats vaguer
Under the wording of the European draft, Damascus was threatened with sanctions if it did not end violence by Syrian troops. The Russian draft did not include this threat.
The compromise stipulates possible further steps if Syria does not comply with the resolution, according to the news agency Reuters.
After twice vetoing resolutions condemning the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and China have joined other council members in voting for a resolution to authorize the deployment.
At least 45 people, including 18 soldiers, were killed in Syria on Friday, according to a opposition and state media reports.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees said 27 of the dead were civilians, mainly in the dissident central province of Homs.
rc/nrt (AFP, Reuters)