DAMASCUS, Syria: International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Thursday that a deal between trapped fighters and civilians in Homs city and the Syrian authorities had broken down, as government forces appeared close to retaking the besieged opposition area, the Voice of Russia reported.
Homs, a religiously-mixed city, was the scene of early protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and has become a symbol of the destructive nature of Syria’s civil war, with many of its neighborhoods leveled by army shells.
“It is a matter of deep regret that negotiations were brutally stopped and violence is now rife again when a comprehensive agreement seemed close at hand,” Brahimi said in a statement.
“It is alarming that Homs, whose people have suffered so much throughout these past three years is again the theatre of death and destruction.”
According to some reports, the number of the Syrian civil war victims has exceeded 200,000, with civilians, including children, accounting for a third of the death toll. The UN claims the number of refugees is approaching three million.