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February 19, 2012

Chinese Newspaper Accuses West of Stirring Syria Unrest

A Chinese newspaper says Western support for Syrian opposition forces could trigger a civil war in the violence-stricken nation.

The state-run People's Daily said in a commentary Monday that foreign military intervention will be needed if civil war erupts in Syria.

The newspaper also said a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down would have led to more violence in Syria.

China and Russia vetoed the Western and Arab-backed resolution earlier this month.

Another state-run Chinese newspaper, the Global Times, reported Monday that China favors Arab League efforts to solve the Syrian crisis.  The paper also said China is urging Syria's government and opposition to halt violence and begin "inclusive" political dialogue.

Human rights activists say more than 6,000 people have died in nearly a year of upheaval in Syria, where opposition activists have been rallying against President Assad.

On Sunday, Syrian security forces deployed in a tense Damascus neighborhood, blocking opposition activists from staging a second day of mass protests, as the government continued a nationwide crackdown on protest hubs.

Activists said Syrian police prevented a funeral for a young protester from turning into a major rally against Assad.  Samer al-Khatib was shot dead Saturday as security forces fired on a mass funeral for several other anti-Assad activists killed in a police crackdown the day before.

Elsewhere Sunday, activists reported 14 people killed in violence linked to the revolt across Syria.

Syrian state media also said 12 security personnel were buried Sunday, after being killed in fighting with rebels.

The top U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, said foreign intervention in the Syrian unrest would be "very difficult" because the Assad government has what he called a "very sophisticated, integrated" air defense system and chemical and biological weapons.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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