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Baird says Suncor to stay in Syria as UN declares 'civil war'

Canadian energy giant Suncor will continue to operate in Syria, even as the European Union tightens the economic screws and a top United Nations official says the country is now in a state of civil war.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is sticking to his position that Suncor should be exempt from Canadian sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Baird told a House of Commons committee that Suncor will continue its natural gas generation operations because it creates much-needed electricity for the Syrian people.

Suncor operates a $1.2-billion natural-gas project, in partnership with a state-owned Syrian company.

The European Union has imposed additional sanctions on Syria as the country's opposition called a general strike inside the country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also said that with greater numbers of military personnel defecting, Syria has entered a state of civil war.

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