US calls for convoys to Homs where 'people are starving'

The United States has called on the Syrian government to allow convoys into Homs, where "people are starving". America added that the evacuation of women and children from the city was "not sufficient."

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US: Aid convoys 'badly needed' in Syrian city of Homs

US officials have demanded that Syria allows aid into the "starving" city of Homs, as talks aimed at ending three years of civil war hit more trouble over the future of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Old City of Homs. Credit: ITV News

The Syrian government said women and children could leave the besieged city and that rebels should hand over the names of the men who would remain, but a US State Department spokesman said an evacuation was not an alternative to immediate aid.

Spokesman Edgar Vasquez said: "We firmly believe that the Syrian regime must approve the convoys to deliver badly needed humanitarian assistance into the Old City of Homs now.

"The situation is desperate and the people are starving."

US calls for convoys to Homs where 'people are starving'

US calls for convoys to Homs: 'People are starving'

A man walks amid damage and debris in the besieged area of Homs. Credit: Reuters/Thaer Al Khalidiya

America has called on the Syrian government to allow convoys into the west Syrian city of Homs, where "people are starving". The US says the evacuation of women and children from Homs, proposed by Syrian government, is "not sufficient", and is not an alternative to aid.

Read: Power transfer expected to be top of Syria talks agenda

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Syrian state 'declaration of principles' for Geneva talks

The Syrian state delegation has presented a 'declaration of principles' for the Geneva talks, and has demanded that countries stop arming rebels and 'inciting terrorism'.

The Syrian state delegation's document does not refer to transition of power, and says Syrians alone will choose the political system without 'imposed formulas' from outside the country.

Syria talks expected to centre on power transfer

Civilians stand along a street lined with rubble in the besieged area of Homs.
Civilians stand along a street lined with rubble in the besieged area of Homs. Credit: Reuters

Talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are expected to address wider concerns such as the transfer of power today after yesterday's talks yielded the first signs of compromise between the two sides.

Discussions are expected to continue on relief for the besieged area of Homs. On Sunday the talks reached a breakthrough as the regime and opposition agreed the evacuation of women and children from the area.

Read more: Syria talks reach breakthrough over evacuation of besieged Homs

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Meeting separately at Syria peace talks 'very useful'

Meeting Syria's regime and opposition delegates separately has been "very useful" to the peace talks taking place in Geneva, said the UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi.

The UN's Lakhdar Brahimi has been mediating talks between Syria's regime and opposition
The UN's Lakhdar Brahimi has been mediating talks between Syria's regime and opposition Credit: RTV

The two sides are due to meet again tomorrow morning. "They will be doing most of the talking to one another through me, and most probably in the afternoon I [will] see them seprately again," he added.

Women and children 'free to leave' besieged Homs

Syria's government have said women and children in the besieged Syrian city of Homs are "welcome to leave", according to UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi who has been marshalling peace talks in Geneva.

Civilians stand along a street lined with rubble in the besieged area of Homs
Civilians stand along a street lined with rubble in the besieged area of Homs Credit: REUTERS/Thaer Al Khalidiya

"What we have been told by the government side is that women and children in this besieged area in the old city are welcome to leave immediately, and the other civilians are also welcome to leave but the government needs a list of their names first," Mr Brahaimi said.

Syria regime and opposition to hold separate talks

Syria's regime and opposition will hold separate talks with UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi today after discussions stalled on humanitarian aid, according to opposition delegate Ahmad Ramadan.

He said the government delegation had not yet responded to opposition demands to release thousands of prisoners taken during almost three years of conflict, and other demands to allow humanitarian aid into the city of Homs.

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