SYRIA- Syria is now in a full-scale civil war, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said, as the United States accused Russia of supplying the regime of Bashar Al Assad with attack helicopters.
The UN peacekeeping chief told reporters that there was an escalation in violence in Syria as President Bashar al-Assad's forces seek to regain control of "large chunks of territory" they had lost to the opposition.
The almost 300 observers in the UN mission in Syria face a "grave security risk," Ladsous said.
UNSMIS is "a peacekeeping force when there is definitely no peace to observe."
Asked whether he believed Syria is in a civil war, he said: "Yes I think we can say that. I think there is a massive increase in the level of violence, so massive indeed that in a way it indicates some change of nature."
His comments marked the first time a UN official has openly spoken of civil war in Syria.
For its part, Syria state-run news agency SANA reported Wednesday that following statements by a number of mass media attributed to Head of the UN mission in Syria General Robert Mood about the outbreak of a civil war in Syria and the Syrian government's loss of control on several Syrian areas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates inquired the office of Mood in Damascus where his deputy Martin Grifith underlined that these statements have not been issued by Mood or any of the international observers in the country.
A number of media institutions attributed statements to Mood that Syria entered a civil war. They also claimed that Mood had stated that the Syrian government lost control on wide areas, SANA added.
World powers are groping to find a way to end 16 months of bloodshed in Syria with the toll growing daily despite a ceasefire that should have gone into effect from April 12. But Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday that military intervention like that carried out by the Western alliance in Libya last year was "not the right path".
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has been trying to implement on the ground his six-point peace plan, which calls for both sides to lay down their arms immediately and participate in a Syrian-led political transition.