Syrian Violence Leaves Two Officials Dead
State news agency SANA reported that provincial state prosecutor Nidal Ghazal and Judge Mohammed Ziadeh died instantly in the attack on a Sunday in which at least 20 people were killed across Syria, according to figures from the activist group Local Coordination Committees reported in CNN.
Battles between rebels and Syrian forces have escalated as rebel groups have succeeded in securing control of territory in the north and central Homs province. The increasing military conflict is pushing Syria closer toward a civil war, according to the AP.
“I’m worried that Syria is going to slide into a civil war,” U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has consistently blamed “terrorists” for the 11-month uprising in the embattled nation, according to CNN. He went on the offensive again on Sunday, claiming that the rebels are carrying out a foreign conspiracy to destabilize Syria.
One activist told CNN he is confident that Syrian forces are preparing for a mass ground invasion of the neighborhood of Baba Amr, the heart of the revolt.
"Just like every day, the residents of Baba Amr woke up (Sunday) to the sounds of violent bombing, as al-Assad forces continue to use different types of weapons, bombs, and rockets in their attacks," Omar Shakir said.
Assad has been facing stepped up pressure from Arab countries to resolve the conflict and transfer power to his vice president. On Sunday, Egypt recalled its ambassador to Damascus, following last week’s Arab League call for Arab states to suspend diplomatic relations with Syria, according to Reuters.
"The decision is a message that Egypt is unsatisfied with the situation in Syria as it is," Foreign Ministry spokesman Amr Rushdy said.
The opposition has said that it would not negotiate with Assad’s government.
The United Nations’ most recent death toll for the conflict released in January said that 5,400 people have been killed in 2011 alone. The LCC claims that more than 7,300 have been killed since last March, according to the AP.