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UN Says Syria In 'Civil War', Death Toll Above 4,000 As More Sanctions Imposed

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
The United Nations says more than 4,000 people have been killed in Syria in the eight-month crackdown, which the UN now describes as turning into civil war.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, told a news conference in Geneva on December 1 that the actual death toll could be much higher.

She added President Bashar al-Assad's regime is facing a civil war as growing numbers of defecting soldiers are taking up arms against the government.

EU foreign ministers meanwhile said in a statement that sanctions against Syria's energy and financial sectors are being tightened.

The statement said sanctions target "the energy, financial, banking and trade sectors and include the listing of additional individuals and entities that are involved in the violence or directly supporting the regime."

In Washington on December 1, the Treasury Department placed economic sanctions on a senior Syrian general and a financier uncle of President Assad.

Also listed in the new sanctions were a defense ministry business -- the Military Housing Establishment, and the government-controlled Real Estate Bank, the country's second largest bank.

compiled from agency reports