The Syrian government announced on Friday that it would participate in next round of Geneva peace talks aimed at ending the country’s civil war, as civilians trapped in a rebel-controlled part of Homs, one of the conflict’s urban epicenters, began trickling out under a deal negotiated by the United Nations.

Syria’s official SANA news agency said at least 58 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, had departed the besieged Old City neighborhood of Homs by midafternoon. Syrian state television broadcast images of frail civilians escorted onto a bus by members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Vehicles from the United Nations refugee agency and World Food Program could also be seen.

Later the United Nations said at least 83 people had been evacuated and “delivered to places of their choice” by United Nations and Red Crescent staff members. […]