Women and Children of Homs Granted Safety in First Syria Deal

Will be allowed to leave as early as Sunday

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The Syrian government reached an agreement with the opposition on Sunday to allow women and children to leave a city that has been under government siege for more than a year, the first tangible sign of progress made at the peace talks in Geneva.

Women and children trapped in the embattled city of Homs will be allowed to leave as early as Sunday under the terms of the agreement, the Associated Press reports, though the deal’s U.N. mediator said it fell short of his hope to send a humanitarian-aid convoy. Eight hundred families are said to be trapped in Homs, which suffered a mortar-fire attack on Sunday morning.

Thirty-five rebels and government troops died in fighting on the southern edge of Damascus on Saturday, reports AP.

The Geneva peace talks on Syria have been marked by bitter disagreements and animosity from the start. Discussions about a transitional government, likely to be the most hotly debated topic of the conference, will begin on Monday at the earliest.