Syria war deepens: Damascus sees worst fighting yet (+video)
Fighting has intensified in the capital, a day after the Red Cross declared the conflict a 'civil war' and reminded combatants of the rules of war.
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The uptick in violence in Damascus comes just a day after the International Committee of the Red Cross declared the situation in Syria to be a civil war, thereby applying international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions, to the conflict. The ICRC's declaration opens the door to prosecutions for war crimes by any combatants who target civilians or abuse detained military captives.
Previously, the ICRC had restricted its assessment of the scope of the conflict to the hotspots of Idlib, Homs, and Hama, but the organization has determined the violence has spread beyond those areas.
The declaration follows reports last Thursday of a massacre in the village of Tremseh, where initial reports said that Syrian military used heavy weapons on civilians, killing more than 150 people, writes Middle East Online. Both the use of heavy weapons and the targeting of civilians would be in violation of promises that the Syrian government made to special UN envoy Kofi Annan, who said Friday that he was "shocked and appalled" by the reports, according to Reuters. But the Syrian government denied that it had targeted civilians or used heavy weapons, but had rather attacked and killed armed rebels.
Reuters notes that Sander van Hoorn, a Dutch journalist who reached Tremseh, said he found evidence of artillery shelling in the village, contradicting that portion of the government's claims. But he added that he had yet to find signs of a massacre in Tremseh.