Syrian troops on offensive on deadline day

BEIRUT - Syrian troops shelled villages, fired across frontiers and were accused of massacres in the hours before a deadline on Tuesday that many doubt can usher in a UN-brokered ceasefire and halt a 13-month slide into all-out civil war.
In Damascus, President Bashar Assad said nothing on Monday about whether he would honor his undertaking to start withdrawing government forces from urban areas on April 10 - a deadline that diplomats say appears to give him until midnight Syrian time, or 2100 GMT, on Tuesday to comply.
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