27 Jun 2012

Violence in Syria escalates

9:50 pm on 27 June 2012

Gunmen have attacked a Syrian pro-government TV channel, killing three people, state media say.

The attack on Ikhbariya TV south of Damascus blew up the newsroom, Sana news agency reported.

Hours earlier, President Bashar al-Assad said Syria was in "a real state of war" and US intelligence officials predicted a long, drawn-out struggle.

The UN's deputy envoy on Syria says the violence has "reached or surpassed" levels before the April ceasefire deal.

Meanwhile, Syrian government forces have committed human rights violations, including executions, across the country on an alarming scale during military operations over the last three months, United Nations investigators have said.

In their latest report, the team said that it was unable to determine who carried out a massacre of more than 100 people in Houla in May.

But said forces loyal to the government may have been responsible for many of the deaths.

It also had multiple reports of killings by armed opposition groups who are increasingly using improvised explosive devices in their revolt against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.