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Clinton says Syria will face 'serious consequences' if killing continues

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday urged members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to halt operations targeting civilians, or face "serious consequences".

"Our message must be clear to those who give the orders and those who carry them out: Stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face serious consequences," Clinton said in prepared remarks at a conference on the Syrian conflict in Istanbul.

"Your countrymen will not forget, and neither will the international community," she added.

Clinton also said the United States was providing communications equipment to Syria's civilian opposition. "We are discussing with our international partners how best to expand this support," she said. While the Obama administration has called on Assad to accept a new peace plan proposed by United Nations-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan, the United States has so far shown little appetite for arming the rebels or intervening militarily along the lines of the NATO-led operation in Libya last year.

"Nearly a week has gone by, and we have to conclude that the regime is adding to its long list of broken promises," Clinton said of the Assad government's delay in implementing the peace plan from U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan despite apparently accepting it.

(Reporting By Missy Ryan; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Andrew Osborn)

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