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Syrian civil war possible if opposition grows: Clinton

(Xinhua)

13:47, November 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton said on Friday that a civil war in Syria is possible if the opposition in the West Asian country grows stronger, according to media reports here.

"I think there could be a civil war with a very determined and well-armed and eventually well-financed opposition that is, if not directed by, certainly influenced by defectors from the army," Clinton told the NBC network.

"We're already seeing that, something that we hate to see because we are in favor of a peaceful protest and non-violent opposition," she said, blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for provoking the opposition into "taking up arms."

Anti-government protests broke out in mid-March in Syria, and have resulted in some 3,500 deaths so far, as the United Nations estimated.

The U.S., its European allies and the Arab countries have ratcheted up the pressure on Syrian. At its meeting in Morocco's capital of Rabat on Wednesday, the Arab League formally suspended Syria's membership, and gave President Bashar Assad's government three days to implement a peace plan brokered by the bloc to halt the violence and allow in observers from the organization, or face economic sanctions.

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