Red Cross: Syria Now a Civil War
Move comes as regime denies using heavy weapons on civilians
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2012 7:03 AM CDT
This image made from amateur video Friday, July 13, 2012 purports to show a funeral for victims reportedly killed by government forces in Tremseh, Syria.   (AP Photo/ Hama Revolution 2011 via AP video)
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(Newser) – The International Committee of the Red Cross says it now considers the conflict in Syria a civil war, meaning international humanitarian law applies throughout the country. The Geneva-based group's assessment is an important reference that helps parties in a conflict determine how much and what type of force they can or cannot use. The move comes as Syria denied it had used heavy weapons on civilians in a reported massacre Thursday in Tremseh.

ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said today that the humanitarian law now applies wherever hostilities are taking place in Syria, where fighting has spread beyond the hotspots of Idlib, Homs, and Hama. International humanitarian law grants parties to a conflict the right to use appropriate force to achieve their aims, but attacks on civilians and abuse or killing of detainees can constitute war crimes.