UN spokesman backtracks on Syria civil war comment

By REUTERS
December 1, 2011 21:08

 
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GENEVA - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay believes Syria is on the cusp of civil war, her spokesman said on Thursday, clarifying her earlier remarks.

"It is definitely heading that way, with more and more reports of armed resistance to the government forces. It is on the cusp, but in these circumstances it is hard to say definitively at what point it becomes civil war," Pillay's spokesman Rupert Colville told Reuters.

The clarification came after Pillay told a news conference that the death toll in Syria was more than 4,000.

"I have said that as soon as there were more and more defectors threatening to take up arms - I said this in August before the Security Council - there was going to be a civil war. At the moment that's how I am characterizing this," she said.

There are increasing numbers of reports of rebel soldiers and others taking up arms against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

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