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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

And we begin this hour with an urgent meeting in Damascus. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today talked with international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. The envoy traveled to the Syrian capital, seeking an end to the conflict, but no breakthrough is announced. And as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul, fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels shows no sign of abating.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Brahimi's brief visit was said to be in support of a plan to move Syria toward a transitional government. But after meeting with the president, Brahimi, heard here through an interpreter, gave no sign of tangible progress.

LAKHDAR BRAHIMI: (Through translator) I briefed the president about my meetings and talks with officials in the region and beyond and about the steps that I deem necessary to help the Syrian people come out of this crisis. The situation in Syria remains worrying.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)

KENYON: Anti-government activists said it was another day of bloody attacks by Assad's forces. This graphic video, which could not be verified, was said to show the aftermath of an attack in the town of Talbiseh near Homs. It shows badly wounded men being loaded onto trucks that have trouble moving through a smoky street filled with rubble.

Activists also leveled allegations that the government had used a nerve agent or toxic gas in the Homs area. Videos showed men choking and vomiting, but there was no confirmation that any chemical weapon had been used. In Russia, the foreign minister told the media that using such weapons would be political suicide for the Assad regime. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Istanbul.

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