- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 26, 2014

Syria will allow women and children trapped in the besieged city of Homs to leave “immediately” under a new deal between the government and rebel factions.

“What we have been told by the [Syria] government side is that women and children in the besieged area of the [Homs] old city are welcome to leave immediately,” U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said at a news conference, the Agence France-Presse reported.

The subject of Homs has been discussed at length since the two parties started talks Saturday, Al Arabiya reported. Brahimi acknowledged that the agreement fell short of his hope to send a humanitarian aid convoy.

“You know that the center of the city has been under siege for a very, very long time and now I hope that we are approaching a solution for at least the civilians,” he said.

Homs was one of the first areas seized by rebels in 2011. It had a pre-war population of 1 million, but most residents have since fled. Activists say about 800 families are trapped without regular access to basic necessities, Reuters reported.

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