18 February 2012 Last updated at 03:57 ET
China's visiting envoy to Syria has called on all sides in the country to end violence, after holding talks with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Syrian TV quoted Zhai Jun as saying he backed the Syrian government's plan for a referendum on the constitution and subsequent elections.
The opposition says it cannot accept a referendum during continuing violence.
It said government forces on Saturday renewed their bombardment of opposition positions in the city of Homs.
Syrian TV quoted Mr Zhai as saying: "The position of China is to call on the government, the opposition and the rebels to halt acts of violence immediately.
"We hope that the referendum on a new constitution as well as the forthcoming parliamentary elections pass off calmly."
Mr Zhai said he hoped "calm [can] be restored as quickly as possibly, as that serves the interests of the Syrian people".
The opposition has called for a boycott of the 26 February referendum.
One key group, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, said it was "impossible for us to take part in this referendum before a stop to the violence and killings".
Article Source : BBC News
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