A United Nations official is negotiating with opposition militants in besieged neighborhoods of a central Syrian city to allow the evacuation of civilians, the provincial governor and an activist said Tuesday.
Talal Barrazi, the governor of Homs province, said in a statement that policewomen, paramedics and members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are ready to arrange the evacuation from the city of Homs and "we are waiting for the U.N.'s response".
The comments come two days after a tentative agreement was reached at peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and its opponents for the evacuation of women and children trapped in Homs before aid convoys enter. U.N envoy "Lakhdar Brahimi", who is mediating the Swiss talks, said security problems are delaying the evacuation.
Barrazi said "we are hopeful that the U.N. team will succeed in getting an approval from armed groups in the old city to guarantee evacuation of civilians", adding "we are ready".
Barrazi said Syrian authorities have asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to help in evacuating Father Francis Van Der Lugt from a monastery in Bustan al-Diwan in Homs. Van Der Lught, 72, has been living in Syria since 1964.
On Saturday, the Dutch priest wrote on a Syrian Christian Facebook page that "hunger has rolled over us! Hunger defeated us! We can see its signs drawn over the faces".