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Syria in Talks with International Delegates

Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told envoys from Brazil, India and South Africa on Wednesday that Syria is committed to hold talks with pro-democracy protesters and engage in reforms, official SANA news agency said.

"Syria is committed to the national dialogue and enacting the reforms announced by President Bashar al-Assad on June 20, 2011," Muallem told the delegates, SANA reported.

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Syrian Army Quits Hama after 10-Day Raid

Dozens of Syrian army vehicles packed with soldiers left the flashpoint protest hub of Hama on Wednesday 10 days after storming the central city to fight "armed groups," an Agence France Presse correspondent saw.

Forty personnel carriers decked with Syrian flags rolled out of Hama with soldiers chanting slogans praising embattled President Bashar Assad, said the journalist who visited the city on a tour organized by the authorities.

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Gaza Cut Off after Phone Cable Severed

An Israeli army bulldozer has damaged a communications cable and cut all phone and Internet networks in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said on Wednesday.

The blackout was caused late on Tuesday by a military bulldozer operating in Nahal Oz, close to the Palestinian enclave, Hamas telecommunications officials told AFP.

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Call for Saturday Protests in Israel

Israel's social protest movement on Wednesday called for demonstrations to be held across the Jewish state on Saturday except in Tel Aviv which saw mass rallies last week.

"We decided not to stage demonstrations in Tel Aviv but to call for rallies across the country," protest leader Stav Shafir told Agence France Presse.

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U.S. Launches Anti-Gadhafi Offensive in Africa

The United States has launched a diplomatic offensive against Libya among African nations as Tripoli accused NATO of a "massacre" of 85 villagers in air strikes in support of rebels.

American diplomats are visiting several African countries as part of efforts to urge leaders to press Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi to leave power immediately, officials in Washington said on Tuesday.

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Kuwaiti Protestors Demand Expulsion of Syrian Ambassador

More than 2,000 Kuwaitis have rallied outside the Syrian embassy in the Gulf state demanding the expulsion of the Syrian envoy and the "freezing" of relations with Damascus.

Holding Syrian flags, the demonstrators chanted "the people want to expel the ambassador," amid a heavy police presence that prevented some protesters from approaching the embassy building.

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Syrian Army Raids Idlib as Outrage Mounts

Syrian troops launched a vast operation on Wednesday in Idlib province bordering Turkey and killed at least one person, activists said, amid growing outrage over the regime's crackdown on dissent.

A defiant President Bashar al-Assad pledged to pursue a relentless battle against "terrorist groups," seemingly oblivious to the mounting international pressure to stop the use of deadly force against pro-democracy protesters.

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Sources: U.S. to Tell Assad that he Must Go

The Obama administration is preparing to explicitly demand the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad and hit his regime with tough new sanctions, U.S. officials said Tuesday as the State Department signaled for the first time that American efforts to engage the government are finally over.

The White House is expected to lay out the tougher line by the end of this week, possibly on Thursday, according to officials who said the move will be a direct response to Assad's decision to step up the ruthlessness of the crackdown against pro-reform demonstrators by sending tanks into opposition hotbeds.

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Egypt FM: Syria Heading to Point of No Return

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr on Tuesday said he feared that revolt-hit Syria was "heading to the point of no return" and called for an immediate end to violence, the official news agency MENA reported.

"Egypt is following with extreme concern the dangerous deterioration of the situation in Syria," Amr said, expressing "his concern that the situation in Syria is heading to the point of no return," MENA reported.

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Iranian Official in Egypt: Defend Syria from U.S.

The head of Iran's parliament's foreign affairs committee accused the United States of seeking to destabilize Syria after talks on Tuesday in Cairo with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.

Alaeddin Borujerdi's visit to Cairo was the first since former president Hosni Mubarak resigned in February after 18 days of massive streets protests.

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