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ICRC: Civilians trapped in Damascus

ICRC: Civilians trapped in Damascus
Smoke rises from the suburb of Erbeen in Damascus in Syria on July 19, 2012. UPI | License Photo

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 23 (UPI) -- Residents of Damascus are finding it more difficult to lead normal lives as the violence in the country moves in on the capital, the ICRC said.

Fighting between anti-government forces and the Syrian military escalated last weekend to engulf Aleppo and parts of Damascus. The International Committee of the Red Cross said recently the conflict bears the hallmarks of civil war.

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Marianne Gasser, head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, said residents of Damascus are presented with new challenges as they become trapped in the capital.

"Because of the ongoing violence, various neighborhoods in Damascus have been cut off from one another, and this is making it progressively more difficult for people to move," she said in a statement.

Conflict in Damascus last week left four Syrian officials dead. Syrian rebels told embedded correspondents with the BBC they were encouraged by the high-profile deaths.

Violence in Syria has continued unabated since May 2011. Moscow and Beijing have objected to repeated attempts to sanction Syria at the U.N. Security Council, saying resolutions presented thus far lack balance.

On Monday, the European Union tightened sanctions on supports of Syrian President Bashar Assad as well as ramped up its arms embargo against the regime in Damascus.

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