Clinton: Renewing U.N. Mission Would be Difficult Without Progressإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Washington would find it hard to support the extension of the observer mission beyond next month if the government of President Bahar al-Assad's regime continued to show "contempt" for a U.N.-backed ceasefire that was supposed to go into effect from April 12.
Asked whether he believed Syria is in a civil war, Ladsous told reporters: "Yes I think we can say that. Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory, several cities to the opposition, and wants to retake control.
"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," Ladsous added.
"Now we have confirmed reports of not only of the use of tanks and artillery but also attack helicopters.
"This is becoming large scale because the opposition also resists."
The undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations is the most senior U.N. official to indicate he believes there is a civil war. U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon said last week that he believed it was "imminent".
Clinton said that renewing the mission would be difficult without progress in implementing the six-point peace plan brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Annan, above all the elusive ceasefire.
"If there is no discernible movement by then it would be very difficult to extend a mission that is increasingly dangerous for the observers on the ground," she told a think tank meeting in Washington.
Clinton also hit out at Moscow accusing it of worsening the bloodshed by sending attack helicopters to its Damascus ally.
"We are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically," she said.
"We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria. They have from time to time said we shouldn't worry, that everything they're shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. That's patently untrue."
The Syrian government hit back accusing Washington of siding with the rebels in their armed uprising which inflicted mounting losses on the security forces this month.
"The U.S. administration is pushing forward with its flagrant interference in Syria's internal affairs and its backing of armed terrorist groups," a foreign ministry statement said.
"U.S. statements distort the truth and what is happening on the ground while encouraging armed terrorist groups to carry out more massacres ... not only in Al-Haffe but throughout the country," it added.
At least 36 people were killed in shelling and clashes across Syria on Tuesday, 24 of them civilians and 12 soldiers, the Observatory said.
More than 14,100 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt erupted in March 2011, according to the Observatory's figures.