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Syria: fighting and diplomacy escalate ahead of talks

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 01:30

May 30 - Heavy fighting escalates in Syria as diplomatic activity reaches a frenzy ahead of the proposed Geneva peace talks. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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Shelling in the town of Qusair unverified video purports to show -- as heavy fighting continues throughout Syria. With more and more actors becoming embroiled in the bloody conflict, Syrian Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said the U.S. should ask all foreign fighters to withdraw before expecting Lebanon's Hezbollah to do so. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ALI HAIDAR, SYRIAN MINISTER OF RECONCILIATION, SAYING: "All Chechens, Caucasians, Afghans and Pakistanis arriving in northern Iraq and northern Africa, why did not U.S. State Department ask them to withdraw?" The comments are in response to the U.S. State Department's Wednesday demand that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately. Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan government officials have confirmed that some young men have left their homes to join the fight. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CHAIRMAN OF KYRGYZSTAN REPUBLIC STATE COMMITTEE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY BEYSHENBAI ZHUNUSOV, SAYING: "According to our materials, according to our operational information, there are several people who have joined the rebels in Syria." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the opposition Syrian National Coalition on Thursday of seeking to thwart peace efforts by making President Bashar al-Assad's exit a condition for participating in a proposed international conference. As violence rages, the proposed summit - expected to be held in mid-June in Geneva - reflects the first serious diplomatic effort in nearly a year to end the conflict. More than 80,000 people are believed to have died in Syria, while millions more have fled their homes.

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Syria: fighting and diplomacy escalate ahead of talks

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 01:30