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Envoy to Syria meets with Russian minister after truce unravels

By Holly Yan and Saad Abedine, CNN
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Mon October 29, 2012
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and envoy Lakhdar Brahimi face reporters after talks Monday in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and envoy Lakhdar Brahimi face reporters after talks Monday in Moscow.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: At least 104 people have died Monday in fighting across Syria, opposition says
  • Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hold talks
  • Brahimi's proposed truce fizzled, with Syrian government forces and rebels blaming each other
  • Turkish media: Syria, Turkey trade fire once again after Syrian shell falls across border

(CNN) -- Reeling from his doomed cease-fire plan that disintegrated in hours, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met Monday with Russia's foreign minister on what to do about the Syrian civil war.

But no easy answer emerged.

It was Brahimi's first meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, a position he inherited after other world diplomats also failed to stop more than a year of relentless bloodshed.

Diplomacy with Russia is a delicate dance. Russia, along with China, has repeatedly vetoed attempts at the U.N. Security Council to take stronger action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Many have accused Russia of backing the Syrian government, but Russia says it just wants a political solution for Syria determined by its own people.

Syrian regime breaks cease-fire
In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
Syrian civil war in photos
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Syrian civil war in photos Syrian civil war in photos
Police base targeted in Syria blast
Assad performs Eid prayers

Brahimi had pushed for government forces and rebels to stop fighting during Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday that began Friday and ends Monday. Yet the violence continued unabated.

At least 104 people have died Monday in fighting across Syria, according to opposition activists.

Brahimi said neither side of the crisis is showing signs of backing down.

"The government says they are fighting terrorists and only terrorists, and that it is their duty to do so -- to protect their people. And the other side says we're fighting a very cruel government that is persecuting us, and we're defending ourselves," Brahimi said after the meeting.

He recalled speaking with a woman who has one son in the Syrian military and another son in the rebel Free Syrian Army.

"If that is not civil war, I don't know what is," Brahimi said.

In other developments:

Fears of a regional war surfaced once again when shelling from Syria landed across the Turkish border into Hatay province, Turkey's Anadolu Agency reported.

The shelling apparently came from fighting in the Syrian town of Harim. Turkey fired back.

There was no immediate word on casualties from the cross-border incident.

Turkey and Syria have traded artillery rounds along their borders sporadically for weeks.

The Hatay governor's office said a mortar shell landed in a Turkish field two weeks ago. Turkish border forces retaliated immediately.

The office said that there were no casualties in that incident.

Tensions between the two countries are palpable. Turkey, once a friend of Syria's, now opposes al-Assad's government. Turkey also hosts more than 100,000 Syrian refugees and opposition leaders.

In Syria on Monday, at least six people were killed in an attack in the Damascus countryside, according to state-run media SANA. The area is a pro-Assad stronghold.

CNN's Gul Tuysuz contributed to this report.

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