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Syria Crisis: The Progression In World Views On Syria's Conflict

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In this citizen journalism image taken on Friday, July 13, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, Free Syrian Army soldiers run for cover in Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
In this citizen journalism image taken on Friday, July 13, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, Free Syrian Army soldiers run for cover in Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

-- Sunday's statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross that it considers Syria's conflict a civil war is the latest in the progression of sharpening world views of that country's bloodshed since it began in March 2011 with the regime's crackdown on protesters against the rule of President Bashar Assad. Here is a glance at some key statements by politicians and international officials on the conflict.

MARCH, APRIL, 2011:

In early days of protests, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expresses hopes for reform from Assad, saying he is a "different leader" than Libya's then-leader Moammar Gadhafi and urging Assad to "be responsive to the needs" of Syrians. But by mid-April, her tone toughens, saying, "We strongly condemn the abhorrent violence committed against peaceful protesters by the Syrian government over the past few weeks."

AUG. 3:

The U.N. Security Council issues its first presidential statement on the crisis – weaker than a binding resolution – urging Syrian authorities to end all violence and launch an inclusive political process. Ever since then, the council has been unable to pass a resolution on the crisis, with Assad's allies Russia and China twice vetoing drafts, most recently in February.

AUG. 18:

"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," U.S. President Barack Obama says in a call simultaneously echoed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – their first outright demand for Assad to go.

Syria's crackdown "may amount to crimes against humanity," investigators from the U.N. Human Rights Council say in a report, noting a pattern "widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population." The report advises Syria be referred to the International Criminal Court.

The following day, the court's prosecutor says it has no jurisdiction since Syria not a member, unless the Security Council votes to refer it.

DEC. 2:

"The Syrian authorities' continual ruthless repression, if not stopped now, can drive the country into a full-fledged civil war," says Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. She says the violence reinforces the need for the Security Council to submit the situation in the country to the ICC.

FEB. 5, 2012:

After Russia and China veto latest attempt at a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria, Clinton warns that a failure to act increases chances for "a brutal civil war" as Syrians move to defend themselves from crackdown.

"Based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity, there would be an argument to be made that he would fit into that category," Clinton says of Assad later in the month in Senate testimony.

MAY 31:

"The longer this goes on, the longer that Assad and his thugs are allowed to brutally murder the Syrian people, the more likely it becomes a sectarian civil war, " White House press secretary Jay Carney says, also citing potential of a "proxy war" with Iran backing Assad and other nations backing insurgents.

JUNE 12:

U.N. peacekeeping chief, Herve Ladsous, says the Syrian conflict has escalated into civil war: "Yes, I think one can say that."

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lebanon Hussein Ali Omar, 60, one of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims that Syrian rebels have been holding for three months in Syria, hugs his mother, right, upon arrival at his house in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, 2012. Syrian rebels freed Omar on Saturday in a move aimed at easing cross-border tensions after a wave of abductions of Syrian citizens in Lebanon. The Shiite pilgrims were abducted May 22 after crossing into Syria from Turkey on their way to Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


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France24 correspondents Matthieu Mabin and Sofia Amara report from the front lines of a rebel offensive against the Syrian army in Damascus.

Watch the exclusive report in the video below.

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syria This image made from video and released by Shaam News Network and accessed Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, purports to show the funeral of children in Daraya, near Damascus, Syria. Syrian troops backed by tanks and helicopters broke into a Damascus suburb on Thursday following two days of shelling and intense clashes as part of a widening offensive by President Bashar Assad's forces to seize control of parts of the capital and surrounding areas from rebel fighters, activists said. At least 15 people were killed in the offensive on Daraya, only a few miles (kilometers) southwest of Damascus. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network SNN via AP video)


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Clashes between Assad supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime killed two people in Lebanon on Friday, the Associated Press reports. 17 people were injured.

The AP gives more context:

Syria was in virtual control of its smaller neighbor for many years, posting tens of thousands of troops in Lebanon, before withdrawing under pressure in 2005. Even without soldiers on the ground, Syria remains influential, and its civil war has stirred longstanding tensions that have lain under Lebanon's surface.

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lebanon A Sunni gunman fires a gun during clashes that erupted between pro and anti-Syrian regime gunmen in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. The latest round of fighting first erupted on Monday in northern Lebanon and at least 15 have been killed in Tripoli this week and more than 100 have been wounded in fighting that is a spillover from Syria's civil war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


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@ KenRoth : UN reports 200,000 #Syria refugees, 30,000 in past week alone. Many more internally displaced not counted. http://t.co/BaM6u59j

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syria Syrian boy Musataf Alhafiz, 11, who fled his home with his family due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels, carries his brother Saif, 9 months, while he and others take refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey, near the Syrian town of Azaz, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. Thousands of Syrians who have been displaced by the country's civil war are struggling to find safe shelter while shelling and airstrikes by government forces continue. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)


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Helicopter gunships shelled Damascus on Wednesday as Syrian security forces intensified their assault on the capital. Activists report that at least 47 people were killed.

"The whole of Damascus is shaking with the sound of shelling," a woman in the neighborhood of Kfar Souseh told Reuters.

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@ jenanmoussa : Graphic. We saw in a mosque in #Syria these 4 children staring at dead body. Pic by @HaraldDoornbos: http://t.co/lgq8IAmO #warsucks @akhbar

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lebanon Lebanese commandos ride in an armored personnel carrier in preparation to enter the area of clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. The civil war in Syria is affecting its fragile, tiny neighbor Lebanon in countless ways and has already spilled over into sectarian street clashes, kidnappings and general government paralysis.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


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Activists say that Syrian security forces swept through two districts in Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least 31 suspected opposition fighters. The Associated Press reports that the army may have been targeting rebel teams that had been using the Nahr Eishah and Kfar Soussa neighborhoods to shell a nearby military airport.

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@ AP : Russia says Western powers are "openly instigating" opposition groups in Syria: http://t.co/Il6rHsxr -SC

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