The second round of the Geneva II international peace conference for Syria starts on Monday.

The Syrian government and opposition have confirmed their wish to carry on the dialogue.

UN/LAS envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, who mediated the first round of the negotiations, is expected to continue his mediating mission.

The first round came to an end on January 31. It did not see any breakthroughs due to the different priorities of the sides. The Syrian authorities deem terrorism the biggest problem, and the opposition puts an emphasis on the creation of an interim governance body in which the Syrian regime represented by President Bashar al-Assad will play no part.

Nevertheless, observers welcome the very fact of negotiations between the warring sides even though they are being mediated by Brahimi.

Besides, a number of positive changes have been achieved for the civilian population of Syria's Homs where the confrontation between the government forces and the armed opposition is underway. A ceasefire was declared in the city on Friday, and the Syrian Red Crescent has been supplying humanitarian aid and evacuating civilians from the city since then.

The Syrian television said about 150 women, children and elderly persons had been evacuated from Homs since Friday.

A gunfire attack against the Syrian Red Crescent convoy cast a pall over the humanitarian operation early on Sunday morning. The driver of one vehicle was wounded. Nonetheless, the mission continued on Sunday.

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