GENEVA - Aid workers are on their way back to Homs to evacuate trapped civilians and wounded from the old city and other hard-hit areas, but negotiations are still under way to secure safe access, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday.

"The team will be making necessary contacts to ensure safe access and evacuate civilians who wish to leave, and to bring in assistance," ICRC spokesman Bijan Farnoudi told Reuters in Geneva. "We cannot foresee when the team will be able to do so."

Aid workers have been seeking access to the flashpoint city since government forces and opposition groups agreed last week to the agency's request for a humanitarian pause in the fighting. An ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent team were forced to turn back last Thursday after hearing shooting as they entered the old city.

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