Syria may ‘return to larger-scale fighting’: UN
Syria's simmering 11-year war is at risk of boiling up once again with a return to large-scale combat after several frontlines across the country flared up in recent months, the United Nations warned yesterday in a new report. "Syria cannot afford a return to larger-scale fighting, but that is where it may be heading," said Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, chair of the UN's Syria commission. Hundreds of thousands of people died and millions were made homeless since protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 escalated into a civil war that drew in foreign powers and left Syria carved into zones of control. Fighting has cooled in recent years after Iran and Russia helped Assad recapture 70 percent of Syrian territory, the United States backed Kurdish fighters that defeated Islamic State militants, and Turkey set up a buffer zone near its border. But the United Nations said fault lines between various areas are now starting to heat up again.