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US backs idea of temporary cease-fire in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is cautiously welcoming the possibility of a temporary cease-fire in Syria, saying it hopes calm might lead to political transition.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she supports U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s initiative and wants a transition process ending the Assad family’s four-decade dictatorship.

Brahimi says Syria’s government and some rebel leaders have agreed to the four-day truce during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which starts Friday. But an al-Qaida-inspired Islamist group rejected the call.

Clinton on Wednesday also condemned this weekend’s attack in Lebanon that killed an anti-Syrian intelligence chief. She backed Lebanese efforts to reshape the government and find those responsible.

But Clinton said the U.S. doesn’t want a political vacuum in Lebanon that can be taken advantage of by Syria or others.



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Syrian military pummels IS-held districts in Damascus

new  Syrian government forces used warplanes, helicopters and artillery on Sunday to pound districts of the capital held by the Islamic State group, in a bid to enforce an evacuation deal reached with the militants earlier in the week.