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UN Hopes for Homs Relief as Syria Peace Talks Continue

The Syrian government and opposition are due to meet face-to-face again Monday in Geneva for negotiations that mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says are "continuing" and that he hopes will "progress gradually."

Brahimi has been meeting with the two sides together and in separate sessions, which he described Sunday as a useful process that gives him a chance to discuss the positions and worries of each party.

He said he hopes women and children will be able to leave a besieged section in the city of Homs on Monday, following an agreement with the government to allow them to go immediately. Brahimi also said the United Nations hopes an aid convoy will be allowed into Homs on Monday.

Homs is one of Syria's largest cities and has been pounded by government assaults to reclaim control from rebel forces.



The agreement followed two rounds of talks Sunday, which also focused on the release of thousands of people from Syrian prisons.

Brahimi said the opposition has agreed to a government request for a list of detainees held by armed rebel groups.

Negotiators from the Syrian government and opposition met for the first time in Geneva Saturday after the process nearly broke down Friday. It was an achievement for mediator Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, just to get the two delegations into the same room.

The official goal of the so-called Geneva 2 talks is to form a Syrian transitional government, though analysts say the chances of achieving this are slim.

Syria's conflict began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad before spiraling into a civil war that the U.N. says has killed well over 100,000 people and forced nearly 9 million from their homes.

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