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Syria heading towards full-blown civil war: UN official

October 15, 2011 - New York

A senior United Nations official has warned that Syria is heading towards a full-blown civil war.

At least 10 people were killed across Syria yesterday, taking the death toll in the six-month uprising to over 3,000, excluding loyalist members of the security forces who continue to target demonstrators.

In recent weeks a largely passive rights movement inside Syria has taken on a more militant tone, with activists openly seeking weapons and soldiers who have fled the army battling with their former colleagues. The Syrian government says around 1,100 security officers have been killed.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, called for more to be done to stop the violence.

"As more members of the military refuse to attack civilians and change sides, the crisis is already showing worrying signs of descending into an armed struggle," The Guardian quoted Pillay, as saying.

On Thursday, at least 36 people were killed nationwide, 25 of them either former or serving security force members. Friday's demonstrations were called in support of the defectors, who Syrian activists say hold the key to the future of an uprising that has become a grinding struggle.

"We know the world is not coming to help us. We will do what we have to do. Our brothers in the security forces are increasingly waking up. And soon we will fight alongside them in large numbers," one man speaking by phone from Homs, said.


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