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Red Cross: Syrian conflict now a civil war

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GENEVA (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross says it now considers the conflict in Syria a civil war, meaning international humanitarian law applies throughout the country.

The Geneva-based group’s assessment is an important reference that helps parties in a conflict determine how much and what type of force they can or cannot use.

ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said Sunday that the humanitarian law now applies wherever hostilities are taking place in Syria, where fighting has spread beyond the hotspots of Idlib, Homs and Hama.

International humanitarian law grants parties to a conflict the right to use appropriate force to achieve their aims. But attacks on civilians and abuse or killing of detainees can constitute war crimes.

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