GENEVA - The United States called on the Syrian government on Monday to allow aid convoys into the Old City of Homs, where "people are starving", and said that all civilians must be allowed to leave the besieged area freely.

The evacuation of women and children from rebel-held Homs, as proposed by the Damascus delegation at peace talks, is "not sufficient" and not an alternative to badly-needed aid, it said.

"The situation is desperate and the people are starving," US State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said in a statement issued in Geneva as the two warring sides met with mediator Lakhdar Brahimi.

"We've seen similar tactics before from the regime, through its despicable 'kneel or starve campaign'. For example, in Mouademiyah, there was a limited evacuation but still no food aid or other humanitarian assistance. That cannot happen in Homs."



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