Published: Mar 25, 2011 8:41 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 25, 2011 5:41 PM EDT

WASHINGTON- The White House is urging Syria's government to cease attacks on protesters and pursue political dialogue as violence escalates in several Syrian cities.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney said Friday the United States is deeply concerned by Syria's attempts to repress and intimidate its citizens. Carney says the United States is consulting its allies throughout the Middle East as the situation in Syria develops.

Violence there escalated Friday as troops opened fire on protesters and pro- and anti-government crowds clashed in Damascus in the most widespread unrest in years.

Government forces and protesters are also clashing in Bahrain and Yemen. Carney says the future of the entire Middle East depends upon whether leaders in these countries will choose to listen to their people.

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