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February 08, 2014 AT 11:38 AM
Syria evacuated 83 civilians on Friday who were living under government siege in the devastated city of Homs for a year and a half. Buses ferried dozens of weary-looking evacuees, accompanied by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to a meeting point outside Homs where aid workers, soldiers and police were gathered. The World Food Programme said many appeared malnourished. WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said."They were living on leaves and grass and olives and whatever they could find." The long awaited move was meant to have been a relatively straightforward opening step in the peace talks, which resume on Monday in Geneva.