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As Humanitarian Crises Loom, Geneva Talks End With Little Progress

Syrian government and opposition exchange insults as week of negotiations concludes

- Common Dreams staff

A child plays with a ball along a street in the besieged area of Homs, January 30, 2014. (Photo: Reuters/Thaer Al Khalidiya)A week of peace talks in Geneva came to a close Friday with little progress on pressing humanitarian issues and a fresh exchange of recriminations between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and members of the opposition.

While some small-scale agreements were made to establish local ceasefires to allow humanitarian workers access to certain areas, there was no resolution on the crises gripping most of the large population centers under siege, including Homs.

A Reuters report charges that a breakdown in negotiations over Homs was the result of demands from each side "preventing a breakthrough," leaving an estimated 2,500 people tragically caught between opposing forces amid reports of starvation.

Meanwhile, reports emerged that both sides exchanged insults before the conclusion of the talks. "Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said the opposition were immature, while the opposition's Louay Safi said the regime had no desire to stop the bloodshed," according to the BBC.

"It is hugely complicated. There was no quick win this week," a U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

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