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June 13th, 2012
09:01 PM ET

Russia, U.S. point fingers over Syria: Who is telling the truth?

Russia is fighting back allegations by the U.S. that they are providing attack helicopters to the al Assad regime. The Russians accused the U.S. of arming Syrian rebels. Who is telling the truth?

Washington Post Natl. Sec. Correspondent, Joby Warrick comes OutFront.

Is Syria in a civil war?

The U.N. peacekeeping chief says Syria is now in a civil war.

Some experts agree with U.N. official Herve Ladsous that the war-torn country has reached that chilling milestone. Others say the country is hurtling in that direction. The conflict began in March 2011 when a fierce Syrian government crackdown on peaceful protesters morphed into a bloody government uprising.

Stephen Biddle, Roger Hertog Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said popular conversation about civil war tends to be dominated by images of the U.S. Civil War and it conjures a vague picture of a "really bad conflict." But the rigorously-defined scholarly meaning of civil war fits Syria now, just as it applied to Iraq last decade, he said.

"A civil war is a conflict in which at least one side is a non-state actor, with at least 1,000 total battle deaths and at least 100 on each side," he said.

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