Crisis-locked Syria finds itself caught between two very different diplomatic efforts. As the U.S. and its allies pile pressure on the government, Russia and China are trying to mediate a negotiated solution. One of Beijing's top diplomats is in Damascus for talks, calling on all sides to halt the violence, and work out a peace deal. The Chinese effort follows up on months of attempts by Moscow to bring the warring sides together. But the rebels refuse to negotiate, unless Assad gives up power. Violence is escalating almost daily now, with dozens reportedly killed over the past 24 hours. Political science professor Joseph Cheng says U.S. dominance in the region is forcing some world powers onto the defensive.
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