The rebel district of Khaldieh in the besieged central city of Homs has been among Syria’s hardest-hit areas. AFP PHOTO/HO/SHAAM NEWS NETWORK
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The Old City of Homs, the centerpiece of a precarious test case for humanitarian cease-fires to come out of the Geneva talks between the Syrian regime and its opponents, is seen as having the best possible conditions for a successful agreement between bitterly divided parties. Yet the in-principle agreement for the government to allow an aid convoy into the neighborhoods besieged by government forces for over two years appeared to flounder Sunday, with the opposition accusing the regime of changing the terms on even a preliminary agreement. By July, rebel fighters had been largely cornered into the Old City and the Khaldieh neighborhoods, which are also now largely under government control.The central location of Homs, the relatively contained area at stake and the balance of power between rebels and government forces, makes the city a more acceptable candidate to both sides as a test case, opposition sources said.Opposition delegates at Geneva and activists in Homs said that the Syrian regime Sunday blocked access to 12 trucks of aid planned for delivery by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to Homs.The Homs governor, Talal Barazi, who has been involved in negotiations for locally brokered cease-fires and aid access in Homs for months and recently visited the front lines, was also said to have helped facilitate a deal.
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