Libyan rebels fighting against Muammar Gaddafi's regime have, according to several different sources, shot down two Syrian war planes in Ras Lanuf.

The Syrian government has denied the claims as reports come in that mercenaries from Syria, other Arab countries and Eastern Europe are being paid by the Gaddafi regime to be be used to fight against rebels in Libya.

The accusations that Syria is now involved in the Libyan civil war could further destabilise the already fractured state of Middle Eastern politics with Israel watching with a close eye as alliances are formed between regimes.

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has said he "notes that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and calls for an immediate halt to the government's disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets".

Concerns are now rife amongst protesters in other Arab countries that Gaddafi's reaction and opposition to democracy could be replicated  in their own countries.

The outcome in Libya and not Egypt could prove to be the litmus test for future Middle Eastern protests.

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