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Syria Crisis: White House Condemns Violence

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WHITE HOUSE CONDEMNS SYRIA VIOLENCE
In this picture taken on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Syrian rebels, gather on their pickup truck as during clashes with the Syrian forces troops, at Saraqeb town, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Fadi Zaidan) | AP

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WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday condemned all acts of violence in Syria, including attacks by insurgents on supporters of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, such as an assault on a pro-government television station in Damascus.

"We condemn all acts of violence, including those targeting pro-regime elements," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a regular daily news briefing. He called on all parties to end hostilities in Syria.

Gunmen stormed a pro-government Syrian TV channel headquarters on Wednesday, bombing buildings and shooting dead three employees, state media said, in one of the boldest attacks yet on a symbol of the authoritarian state.

Assad declared late on Tuesday that his country was "at war." Carney, asked about this comment, agreed that the situation in Syria was dire but said it was the result of Assad's efforts to try to "cling on to power at all costs."

"The brutality that's being leveled against the Syrian people is of his own doing," Carney said.

Carney said the United States was working with its international partners to keep up the pressure on Assad to step aside and looked forward to a meeting of world powers in Geneva on Saturday to try to find a way to solve the crisis.

Washington is committed to a political transition in Syria that "cannot, because of the choices he made, include Assad," Carney said.

"There is not a great deal of time here for the international community to come together and act before the situation there potentially dissolves into a broader sectarian civil war with implications for the region," he said.

International mediator Kofi Annan said he will hold a ministerial-level meeting on Syria in Geneva on Saturday with the aim of seeking an end to the violence and agreeing on principles for a "Syrian-led political transition."

Foreign ministers from the global powers and Middle East countries will attend the Geneva meeting, called for by Annan to to find ways to implement his stalled six-point peace plan and Security Council resolutions, including an immediate halt to all violence. (Reporting By Susan Cornwell and and Samson Reiny; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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syria car bomb Syrian policemen inspect the site of a car bomb explosion on Mazzeh highway in the capital Damascus on July 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/GettyImages)


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U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice tweets:

@ AmbassadorRice : #Syria regime turned artillery, tanks and helicopters on its own men & women. It unleashed knife-wielding shabiha gangs on its own children.

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Russia says international envoy Kofi Annan will visit Moscow on Monday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. Russia also called for an inquiry into an alleged massacre that took place in the village of Tramseh on Thursday. "We have no doubt that this wrongdoing serves the interests of those powers that are not seeking peace but persistently seek to sow the seeds of interconfessional and civilian conflict on Syrian soil," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters. Moscow did not apportion blame for the killings.

Read more on Reuters.com.

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The Associated Press obtained a video that purports to show the aftermath of an alleged massacre in the village of Tramseh, near Hama.

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How do Syria's fighters get their arms? An overview put together by Reuters explains that there are three gateways to the country -- Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq.

Syrian rebels are smuggling small arms into Syria through a network of land and sea routes involving cargo ships and trucks moving through Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, maritime intelligence and Free Syrian Army (FSA) officers say.

Western and regional powers deny any suggestion they are involved in gun running. Their interest in the sensitive border region lies rather in screening to ensure powerful weapons such as surface to air missiles do not find their way to Islamist or other militants.

Read the full report here.

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syria This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a victim wounded by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. The accounts, some of which claim more than 200 people were killed in the violence Thursday, could not be independently confirmed, but would mark the latest in a string of brutal offensives by Syrian forces attempting to crush the rebellion. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)


syria This citizen journalism image made from video provided by Shaam News Network SNN, purports to show a man mourning a victim killed by violence that, according to anti-regime activists, was carried out by government forces in Tremseh, Syria about 15 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the central city of Hama, Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)


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According to the Hama Revolutionary Council, a Syrian opposition group, more than 220 people have been killed in a new alleged massacre in Taramseh. Earlier reports said more than 100 people were killed. "More than 220 people fell today in Taramseh," the Council said in a statement. "They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions."

Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Taramseh, told Reuters he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents. "It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Taramseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling," Sameh claimed.

Read more on Reuters.com.

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Syrian activist Rami Jarrah tweets that Syrian State TV has confirmed deaths in Tremseh. "Terrorists" is often the term used by the Syrian regime for opposition forces.

@ AlexanderPageSY : Syrian State TV: clashes between security apparatus & terrorists in #Tremseh of #Hama leaves large numbers of terrorists killed #Syria

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@ Reuters : UPDATE: DEATH TOLL IN SYRIAN FORCES' ATTACK ON VILLAGE IN SYRIA'S HAMA REGION IS MORE THAN 200, MOSTLY CIVILIANS - OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS

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@ Reuters : At least 100 killed in Syrian village: opposition activists http://t.co/FG3fJwu8

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