UN on Syria: It's a Civil War
'This is really becoming large scale,' peacekeeping chief says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2012 1:34 PM CDT
Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer team in Syria, speaks to reporters in Zabadani neighborhood in Damascus, Syira, Sunday, May 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)
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(Newser) – The situation in Syria has officially descended into a full-blown civil war, the UN's peacekeeping chief said today. "Yes, I think we can say that," Herve Ladsous told Reuters, explaining that the opposition has claimed "large chunks of territory in several cities," and that regime forces are trying to take them back. "Now we have confirmed reports of not only of the use of tanks and artillery, but also attack helicopters. This is really becoming large scale."

If the Red Cross declares Syria a full-blown "internal armed conflict," it will have international legal ramifications, forcing both sides to comply with the Geneva Conventions. Ladsous' statement carries no such legal weight, but could have political ramifications. He also revealed that there had been a shooting attack on UN monitors en route to the town of Haffeh, though the shots seemed to come not from troops but from an angry crowd of stone-throwing civilians.