DHAKA: The Red Cross (ICRC) says fighting in Syria has become so widespread that the conflict is now in effect a civil war.
The change in status means combatants will now be officially subject to the Geneva Conventions, leaving them more exposed to war crimes prosecutions.
The Red Cross had previously regarded only the areas around Idlib, Homs and Hama as war zones, reports BBC.
Meanwhile, Syrian officials are disputing claims that they used heavy weapons in fighting on Thursday.
Activists initially described fighting in the village of Tremseh near Hama as a massacre of dozens of civilians, but later accounts suggested most of the dead were armed rebels.
The UN accused Syrian forces of using heavy artillery, tanks and helicopters, but Damascus denied those allegations and said just two civilians had been killed.
The accusations, if proved, would mean Damascus had broken an agreement it made with envoy Kofi Annan.
Later on Sunday, video footage emerged purporting to show heavy fighting in southern Damascus.
Activists claimed the fighting was the most intense seen in the capital since the start of anti-government protests in March last year.
They said tanks and mortars were used, and in some areas residents were fleeing.
There has been no independent confirmation of their claims.
BDST: 0208 HRS, JUL 16, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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