Middle East

Syrian Peace Talks Continue, Civilians Evacuated From Homs

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Two Syrian delegations — one from the Assad regime and one from the opposition — are in Geneva for peace talks. Meanwhile, hundreds of civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Syrian city of Homs. They've been able to leave during a ceasefire.


It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

We have a glimpse this morning of the prospects for peace in Syria, and also the horrors of war. In a moment, we'll hear from a woman who tells of surviving a chemical attack.

We begin with the latest round of peace talks in Geneva. NPR's Alice Fordham reports.

ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: The two delegations are set to talk separately today with U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. The hope is that they will sit together tomorrow, and every day until Friday.

But what they can do is unclear. Bouthaina Shaaban, an aide to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, questions whether the opposition represents the people of Syria. And the opposition Syrian Coalition said that the delegates Assad sent to Geneva are unauthorized to make decisions.

Plus, the talks begin as relief attempts inside Syria are faltering and fighting continues.

An evacuation of civilians from a besieged area of the city of Homs is moving into its fourth day. It has been conducted under fire, and it has been opposed by regime supporters, who see it as helping people they call terrorists.

While in Damascus, a similar relief attempt in the Yarmouk Palestinian camp has been halted due to violence.

And in the large city of Aleppo, residents are fleeing a campaign of aerial bombing by the government, and extremist opposition fighters nearly took the city's main prison.

Alice Fordham, NPR News, Geneva.

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