DAMASCUS - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met Syria's President Bashar Assad on Saturday, state television said, to discuss efforts to end the country's 18-month-old conflict which activists say has killed more than 27,000 people.

It was Brahimi's first meeting with Assad since he replaced Kofi Annan as peace envoy two weeks ago. Assad's forces and rebels seeking his overthrow have ignored appeals to end the fighting. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 160 people were killed in Syria on Friday.

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