UN: Syria Now a 'Civil War' Because so many soldiers are defecting army By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff Posted Dec 1, 2011 11:51 AM CST 3 comments Comments Pro-Syrian regime protesters, wave a giant Syrian flag during a demonstration against the Arab League decision to suspend Syria, in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday Nov. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman) (Newser) – Words that describe the situation in Syria: conflict, uprising, revolt ... civil war? The latter now applies, according to the UN's top human rights official. Navi Pillay today said that more than 4,000 people are dead, though "really the information coming to us is that it's much more than that." But the civil war description stems from the fact that more and more soldiers are abandoning the army and taking up arms against President Bashar Assad's regime, reports the AP. Says Pillay, "As soon as there were more and more defectors threatening to take up arms, I said this in August before the Security Council, that there's going to be a civil war. And at the moment that's how I am characterizing this."