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LONDON, August 5 (Itar-Tass) —— British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned about a possible escalation of violence and bloodshed in Syria, as the regime of President Bashar al-Asad unleashes its armed forces for a major assault on rebel stronghold Aleppo.
Hague warned that the regime's reliance on violence, rather than negotiations, in responding to challenges to Asad's rule, could lead to "a collapse in all authority" in the Middle Eastern country.
Hague told Sky News: "There has been fighting in Aleppo over recent days, but it does seem that the Syrian armed forces have been building up to something bigger. We are likely, sadly, to see even more fighting, more bloodshed, probably a bigger flow of refugees over the coming days.
"This is, I'm afraid, the situation we warned about for a long time - that there would be a collapse in Syria and an even more deadly conflict if we didn't bring enough pressure to bear on the Assad regime to implement the peace plan of Kofi Annan.
"Our Security Council resolution was vetoed. We won't give up on the diplomatic work, but given this situation, we will step up our humanitarian assistance but also our practical help to the opposition in Syria, who are in such a desperate situation."
Following the Russian and Chinese veto of British-backed resolutions at the UN Security Council and the resignation of peace envoy Kofi Annan, the Foreign Secretary said that it may require a deterioration in circumstances on the ground to trigger a return to diplomatic efforts to stop the violence.
Hague said the "prime responsibility" for the conflict, which has claimed at least 19,000 lives since the first pro-democracy protests in Syria, lay with the Asad regime.