Civilians carry their belongings as they walk towards a meeting point to be evacuated from a besieged area of Homs February 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Thaer Al Khalidiya)
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Dozens of children, women and elderly people on wheelchairs were evacuated Friday from battleground neighborhoods of the Syrian city of Homs, after a year and a half under siege.The rare truce in Homs may help build some confidence ahead of a second round of peace talks between the opposition and the government of President Bashar Assad, scheduled to begin in Geneva next week.U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi had pushed for aid for the estimated 2,500 civilians trapped in the ancient, rebel-held quarters of the city known as Old Homs as confidence-building measures during the first face-to-face meetings in Geneva last month.Haq added: "We understand that for the most part the operation went smoothly, but there were isolated reports of gunfire heard during the day ... We'll try to evacuate more civilians and deliver aid in the next few days".The evacuees will be allowed to go wherever they want, Homs' governor said, adding that a shelter has been prepared, capable of taking up to 400 people with nowhere else to go.
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