The first groups of civilians were evacuated on February 7 from rebel-held sections of Homs, a war-ravaged city in western Syria that has been a major battleground between government and rebel forces in Syria’s civil war. The evacuation is considered to be a positive result stemming from the UN-backed Geneva II Conference on Syria held from January 22-31.
Negotiations between the Pakistani government and representatives of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) began on January 6 in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The talks are aimed at resolving the ongoing insurgency between the TTP — an umbrella organization of Islamic militants based in Pakistan’s northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas — and the government.
An exchange of words between Syria’s foreign minister and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created a tense start to the Geneva II Conference on Syria (a UN-backed conference called to negotiate a settlement to the three-year-long Syrian civil war) which started on January 22 in the Swiss lakeside city of Montreux.
Three international aid agencies issued a report on January 21 claiming that the Syrian government is responsible for the “systematic killing” of approximately 11,000 detainees held in Syrian jails.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced to reporters in New York on January 19 that Iran had been invited to the Geneva II peace conference, a conference between Syrian government representatives and opposition leaders, meant to transfer power from Syria's ruler, Bashar al-Assad, to a transitional government. As a condition for the invitation, Iran has agreed to support the full implementation of the Geneva communique, including the establishment of the transitional governing body, overturning Iran's Syrian ally.