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U.S.: Assad losing grip on power

July 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- The ongoing crackdown on opponents of the Syrian government won't do much to end the revolution in the country, a U.S. official said.

Fighting was reported Tuesday in Damascus for a third consecutive day. The International Committee of the Red Cross last weekend characterized the conflict in Syria as civil war.

Since the crisis began in March 2011, the United Nations estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed. Opposition leaders said the death toll is closer to 15,000.

Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the conflict in Syria suggests the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad isn't in control over the entire country.

"We think that the Assad regime is losing control and that he continues to take his country toward a dangerous end," he said during a regular press briefing. "And our opinion is that this crackdown is not going to stop the revolution."

The ICRC, in a statement Tuesday, said it was continuing its humanitarian work alongside the Syrian Red Crescent Society.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in a statement from a refugee camp near the Syrian border with Jordan, said his government was working to help document atrocities in Syria.

"It is more clear than ever that we must work to ensure that there is no impunity for those committing violations and abuses in Syria," he said.

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