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Homs evacuation continues but no progress in Syrian peace talks

Homs evacuation continues but no progress in Syrian peace talks
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There are concerns over the fate of 300 men plucked from the UN’s evacuation of civilians from Homs. The Syrian authorities took the men as they were deemed to be of “fighting age”.

A ceasefire to allow the UN to get starving people out of the city runs out on Wednesday evening, after which anyone still in the city will be left to their fate.

In the meantime the Geneva peace talks grind on, and once again Russia has doubts, this time over a UN aid access draft resolution.

“This draft contains a completely unacceptable ultimatum for the government; if all of this is not decided in the next couple of weeks, then sanctions will be automatic. This is not serious,” said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

In Geneva the opposition, which is holding face-to-face meetings with the Syrian government’s envoys, wants Homs-style evacuation agreements for more cities.

“There are still hundreds of thousands of people trapped in eastern Ghouta, east of Damascus, badly affected by starvation and siege,and in many other areas. What is happening in Homs is only temporary. What we are asking for is the full implementation of humanitarian international law,” says the Syrian National Coalition’s Monzer Abkik.

The Syrian National Coalition has asked the UN’s mediator Lakhdar Brahimi for more and longer sessions for the talks, and said it is preparing a document to set out the principles for a political solution to the conflict.