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Assad's fall 'only a matter of time', says former UN observer

  • The former head of the United Nations’ observer mission in Syria says it is "only a matter of time" until President Bashar al-Assad's government falls.

    However, Norwegian Maj Gen Robert Mood, who left Syria last week, said Assad's fall would not necessarily bring an end to the 16-month-old conflict.

    On Friday, Syrian forces renewed their assault on the city of Aleppo, Syria's most populous city.

    The U.S. state department has warned of a massacre by Syrian government forces.

    Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has appealed to both sides to spare civilians.

    Pillay added she had received "as yet unconfirmed reports of atrocities, including extra-judicial killings and shooting of civilians by snipers" in the capital Damascus.

    An estimated 16,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad’s regime began in March 2011.