Syrian opposition chief negotiator Hadi al-Bahra walks with a delegation outside the U.N. offices on the second day of face-to-face peace talks in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI
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The Syrian government offered to let women and children leave the besieged city of Homs Sunday as negotiators from the warring sides discussed humanitarian gestures on a second day of face-to-face talks in Geneva.Government and opposition delegates also spoke of releasing prisoners and enabling access for aid convoys during what the U.N. mediator acknowledged was a slow process but one which he hoped would lead to broaching the central issue that divides them after three years of civil war – namely the future of Syria's political structures and of President Bashar Assad.Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told a news conference after Sunday's meetings that the government would let women and children leave the city center if rebels gave them safe passage.Brahimi, who presided Saturday over the first direct meeting between the two delegations, met both together again Sunday morning, before holding discussions with each side separately in the afternoon.Brahimi said opposition delegates, who want the government to release tens of thousands of detainees, had agreed to a government request to try to provide a list of those held by armed rebel groups – though many of these groups, fighting among themselves, do not recognize the negotiators' authority.
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