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Syria negotiators discuss relief to Homs, prisoner releases

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 01:44

Jan. 26 - Syria's opposing parties discussed aid and prisoner releases in talks aimed at building some kind of trust before tough political negotiations. Gavino Garay reports.

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It's the second day of face-to-face talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Geneva. On the agenda: aid relief to the besieged city of Homs and the release of nearly 50,000 detainees. Opposition delegation member Monzer Akbik. (SOUNDBITE) MEMBER OF SYRIAN OPPOSITION DELEGATION MONZER AKBIK SAYING: "We give priority to women and children and the most vulnerable detainees, for example the people who has illness or they need medical care, we give priority for that. Give in return? As I mentioned earlier that the Free Syrian Army has only fighters. They don't have civilians or opinion prisoners." But Bouthaina Shaaban, an advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, doubts the opposition delegation here can adequately represent the factious Syrian rebels. (SOUNDBITE) ADVISOR TO SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, BOUTHAINA SHAABAN, SAYING: "If these people who are here represent a small fraction of the opposition, if the national, positive opposition that is at home has not even been invited and even some opposition who are out of Syria have not been invited, one question we ask these people who are here, "Who do they represent? How many Syrian people do they represent?" Meanwhile, amateur video Reuters cannot independently verify suggests residents of Homs are running out of patience. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED MAN SAYING: ''We fill our stomach with stones. We don't have food or water anymore! We are worried about the wounded people. These people who lost a leg, a hand, an eye. We want care for these people. We don't want food. We want these wounded people to get treated, those who lost a leg, a hand, an eye...'' U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is mediating the talks. Diplomats say he's trying to make progress on issues like humanitarian aid, local ceasefires and prisoner releases -- to build a platform on which to begin tougher political talks.

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Syria negotiators discuss relief to Homs, prisoner releases

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 01:44