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Syria violence: Red Cross formally declares conflict a civil war

A crowd of people gather on a street in Syria in this July 2012 photo. On Sunday, July, 15, 2012, the international Red Cross officially declared the conflict in Syria a civil war.

July 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The international Red Cross has formally declared Syria's 16-month bloody conflict a civil war, a status that paves the way for potential war crimes prosecutions.

The Red Cross statement on Sunday came as United Nations observers gathered new details on what happened in a village in Tremseh. They said Syrian troops went door to door, apparently looking for army defectors and activists. Dozens of people were reportedly killed.

Syria denies the claim, saying last Thursday's raid was a military operation targeting armed fighters who had taken control of the village.

The fighting was some of the latest in the uprising against President Bashar Assad, which began more than a year ago. Activists say more than 17,000 people have been killed.

Violence continued Sunday, with more clashes reported around the capital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.