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Fears for civilians in Syria as violence intensifies

12 June 2012 Last updated at 22:04 BST

There are signs that the fighting in Syria is intensifying, and the head of peacekeeping at the United Nations, Herve Ladsous, says the conflict can now be considered a civil war.

It is the first time a UN official has formally voiced that view, and UN special envoy Kofi Annan has also warned that the sectarian violence is now spilling over into neighbouring Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has accused Russia of sending attack helicopters to the Assad regime, and is warning of a dramatic escalation.

Jim Muir reports from Beirut.