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Turkey fortifies Syrian border; bomb hits Damascus


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Gunmen broke into her home and shot her, her parents and three nephews, SANA said.

World powers will meet Saturday in Geneva for talks on Syria, but few observers expect a major breakthrough. Syria has the protection or Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, and has so far been impervious to international pressure.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow will not endorse a call for Assad to give up power.

"We are not supporting and will not support any external meddling," he said. "External players must not dictate ... to Syrians, but, first of all, must commit to influencing all the sides in Syria to stop the violence."

But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday it was "very clear" that all the participants at the Geneva meeting — including Russia — are on board with a transition plan created by international envoy Kofi Annan.

Clinton told reporters that the invitations to Saturday’s meeting in Geneva made clear that representatives "were coming on the basis of [Annan’s] transition plan."

Lavrov said it was "obvious that a transitional period is needed to overcome the Syrian crisis," but insisted any plans for the future rest on Syria and that the major powers in Geneva must focus on convincing the opposition groups to soften their demands.

Diplomatic hopes have rested on Russia to agree to a plan that would end the Assad family dynasty, which has ruled Syria for more than four decades. Russia is Syria’s most important ally, protector and supplier of arms.




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