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What you need to know about Syria today

From the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:13 PM EDT, Wed September 5, 2012
Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: "We haven't agreed on how to handle Syria, but we haven't stopped talking about what should be done."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Chinese foreign minister
  • Egyptian president calls for regime change, transitional phase
  • Hundreds killed Wednesday in Syria

(CNN) -- World leaders tackled the bloody 18-month crisis in Syria on Wednesday. Chinese and U.S. diplomats met, Turkey's prime minister spoke and Egypt's president said, "It's time for a change."

Here are the latest developments:

Clinton, Chinese foreign minister discuss Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi huddled over what Clinton called "the evolving situation in Syria" and urged support for "transition" in that country.

"With respect to Syria, it is no secret that we have been disappointed by Russia and China's actions blocking tougher U.N. Security Council resolutions, and we hope to continue to unite behind a real path forward to end the violence in Syria," Clinton said at a joint news conference with Yang in Beijing.

Aleppo civilians struggle with violence
Girl hit by sniper bullet in Aleppo
Red Cross: Syria conflict must end
Syrians wait to get out and into Turkey

The secretary of state stopped in China during a visit to Asia.

The United States believes in a "peaceful political transition" in a Syria currently ruled by Bashar al-Assad's regime and wants to work for that goal with China and other nations, Clinton said.

"We haven't agreed on how to handle Syria, but we haven't stopped talking about what should be done, because the violence continues," she said.

Yang called the situation complex.

He stressed China's neutrality and said, "Any solution should come from the people of Syria and reflect their wishes. It should not be imposed from outside."

"China has been emphasizing all along that the various parties should arrive at a cessation of fire and an end to violence, and the various parties in Syria should begin a political dialogue. And like many countries, we support a period of political transition in Syria."

Egyptian leader says it's time for a change

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy called for a transitional phase in Syria and for al-Assad to leave power.

"The Syrian people made their decision, and it is time for change. Let the Syrian leadership learn from the recent lessons of history. Change is due, now," he said.

Morsy made the comments while addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

Morsy's support of the Syrian opposition reflects his solidarity with the people who took to the streets during the Arab Spring, the popular label for the democratic movements that swept across the Middle East and North Africa last year.

Turkey: "Pre-election situation" may be impeding U.S. initiative

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the United States might be holding back on stronger action against Syria because of this year's presidential elections.

"Maybe it's because of the elections -- maybe it's because of the pre-election situation in the States. Might be the root cause of the lacking of initiative," he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "Nobody has spoken to us about their reasons, and they are not obliged to state anything. We are very thankful and pleased they have stated that they're against this regime."

Erdogan has called on the U.N. Security Council to declare a no-fly zone along the Turkey-Syria border, but the council is frequently divided between the interests of Western countries and Russia and China.

Dozens killed in Syria's largest city

The battle for Aleppo raged, with at least 115 people killed there, opposition activists said.

The fatalities are among at least 258 people killed across the country, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.

Elsewhere, shelling killed three children in Homs and a sniper shot dead a teenager in Deir Ezzor. Shelling, blasts and gunfire also rang out in Damascus and its suburbs.

Regime forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army battled in Deir Ezzor and the Damascus suburbs, the LCC said.

CNN's Saad Abedine, Holly Yan and Joe Sterling contributed to this report.

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