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Syria is Officially in Civil War…Although the Opposition Denies It

Syria is Officially in Civil War…Although the Opposition Denies It

On Tuesday, Herve Ladsous, the head of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations, said that the conflict in Syria is now a full-scale civil war, with reports of shelling in Homs and throughout the country. Said Ladsous in a statement:

“Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory, several cities to the opposition, and wants to retake control.

Ladsous’ statement seems an acknowledgement of what has been too long a reality, with over 10,000 killed since pro-democracy protests began in March of 2011. The Syrian state news agency, SANA, responded by blaming the violence on “armed terrorists,” as it has throughout the fifteen-month-long uprising: “Talk of civil war in Syria is not consistent with reality… What is happening in Syria is a war against armed groups that choose terrorism.”

Opposition Also Rejects Civil War Label

Writing in the Guardian, Ian Black observes that opposition is also rejecting the Ladsous’ statement. An opposition body, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, says that the UN’s statements “makes the killer and the victim equal and ignores all the massacres committed by the Assad regime” and also covers over “the real demands of the Syrian people who are only asking for freedom and dignity.”

Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping department, said that Ladsous’ mention of civil war in Syria was based on the past five days’ events in Syria and an apparent upsurge in violence.

The BBC’s Jim Muir notes that the opposition is rejecting the “civil war” label as it puts them “on the same level” as the government. Indeed, the opposition describes itself as “still a peaceful civil uprising which is trying to defend itself against state violence, and that calling it ‘civil war’ is equating victim with killer.”

Clinton Says Russians Lying About Weapons Deliveries to Syria

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Russia has been shipping attack helicopters and lying about deliveries of weapons to Syria. The state-controlled arms trader for Russia contends that the sales are in keeping with international regulations and will continue as they are “unrelated” to the conflict; Clinton said that such claims are “patently untrue.”

Russia is also printing new bank notes to shore up Syria’s ailing economy, according to Reuters. Inflation has risen 31.45 percent this year, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

UN monitors have filmed helicopters flying over Homs and said they saw fire in their wake.

Clinton’s statement that Russia has been lying about weapons deliveries to Syria is sure to escalate tentions further. Clinton has called for a “managed transition” according to which Assad would step aside, but any such plan requires the participation of Russia.

Today, Wednesday, the Syrian government announced that it has retaken the control of the western mountain town of Haffa from the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). UN monitors had tried to visit Haffa on Tuesday but were shot at and were unable to proceed. The BBC’s Muir says that pre-regime villagers apparently attacked the UN convoy.

As Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, details, Syrians throughout the country describe seeing rockets fired from villages near the city of Aleppo. Christians are finding themselves “torn between supporting and opposing the regime”; displaced Sunni Muslims are already taking the homes of Christians in Homs and elsewhere. At least 83 civilians have reportedly been killed today.

Previous Care2 Coverage

Syrian Children Used As Human Shields on Tanks, Says UN Report

Even Animals Not Spared in Grisly Massacre in Syrian Town

Syria Blocks UN Monitors From “Massacre” Investigation

 

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8 comments

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9:59PM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

i have a friend in Syria who is telling me the same thing as Ionnes J. commented on here on June 13 2012... My friend also said that.."its all about oil and gas". Syria has vast untapped resources... War is unhealthy for everyone.... i say drop balloons and bubbles, not bombs!

10:48AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Syria is the new Iraq....the deadtoll raises up to the sky, they are in my prayers!!

8:25PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Russia wants the US as a trading partner and President Obama and Vladimir Putin will be meeting shortly. Hopefully, Obama will have some negotiating leverage and can try and stop Russian arm sales to Syria if he does not give in. The regime has to go and if the UN cannot get its act together maybe another group from the Arab states will have to engage and bring an end to the violence.

7:59AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Russia and China already called shirts. I say we side with skins.

6:48PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

looks like a civil war to me :s even if everyone denies it, two sides are fighting each other with a dictator on one end.

1:33PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

A evidence that US allies in the region, principally Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, are arming the opposition Free Syrian Army. State department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland acknowledged that the US is "coordinating with other nations that are trying to support the Syrian opposition".

1:23PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

Question: Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrovsaid the arms are "only something that Syria would need in the event of an armed attack on it from without".

The Russian foreign minister turned the tables on the US by accusing the Americans of arming the Syrian opposition. "We don't supply Syria or anyone else with things that are used to fight against peaceful demonstrators, unlike the United States, which regularly supplies that region with such special equipment," he said. "They are providing arms and weapons to the Syrian opposition that can be used in fighting against the Damascus government."

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