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January 16, 2012 7:00 am

On Watch: Possibility of Civil War in Syria Rising

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Roosewelt Pinheiro/ABr.

New York Times – BEIRUT — The failure of an Arab League mission to stanch violence in Syria, an international community with little leverage and a government as defiant as its opposition is in disarray have left Syria descending into a protracted, chaotic and perhaps unnegotiable conflict.

The opposition speaks less of prospects for the fall of President Bashar al-Assaid and more about a civil war that some argue has already begun, with the government losing control over some regions and its authority ebbing in the suburbs of the capital and parts of major cities like Homs and Hama. Even the capital, Damascus, which had remained calm for months, has been carved up with checkpoints and its residents have been frightened by the sounds of gunfire.

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