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Syria overruns rebellious village, violence spikes
Conflict » France joins U.N. peacekeeping chief in declaring a state of civil war.

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said weapons were flowing to both sides and called on Russia to halt supplying arms to the Assad regime.

"We have seen signs — rather anecdotal signs — of an increased availability of arms to the opposition," he said during a trip to Afghanistan. "And so this is a deteriorated situation where Russia has an important responsibility due to its relationship with Syria and its position on the Security Council."

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Russia’s stance is coming under deeper scrutiny now that the conflict is looking more like civil war every day. France’s statement that Syria was in a civil war echoed a similar statement by U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on Tuesday.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry expressed "astonishment" over the claims Wednesday.

"Syria is not witnessing a civil war but rather an armed conflict to uproot terrorism and confront killings, kidnappings, bombings ... and other brutal acts," the ministry said.

Syrian authorities characterize rebels as terrorists and armed gangsters, and the uprising as a foreign plot to destabilize the country.

On Wednesday, a roadside explosion hit a convoy of aid workers in northwest Syria, causing three people to suffer minor injuries, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and an ICRC staff member were traveling from Aleppo to Idlib when the blast hit their marked vehicles, the Geneva-based group said.

Red Cross spokesman Hicham Hassan said it was the first time a Red Cross staffer has been injured since the start of violence last year. Several members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been killed, including the head of its branch in Idlib, who was shot dead in January.

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