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posted: 8/2/2011 9:34 AM

Clinton sees Syrian activists as pressure mounts

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is meeting with U.S.-based Syrian democracy activists as the Obama administration weighs new sanctions on Syria. The meeting comes amid mounting congressional calls for action against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Clinton sat down Tuesday at the State Department with members of the Syrian-American community to discuss what the State Department calls "the urgent situation" in Syria. A brutal crackdown on opposition demonstrators has intensified, killing dozens even as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun.

The administration is considering imposing new sanctions on Assad and his inner circle and is being encouraged to do so by a growing number of lawmakers. On Tuesday, three senators said they would introduce legislation this week to ramp up pressure on the regime by penalizing foreign companies that do business in Syria's energy sector.

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