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UN envoy calls Syrian city of Homs 'theater of death and destruction,' asks for negotiations

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BEIRUT — The United Nations envoy to Syria says the besieged central city of Homs has become a "theater of death and destruction," urging both sides in the country's civil war to return to negotiations.

In a statement Thursday, Lakhdar Brahimi called on Syrian government officials and opposition leaders to resume talks that broke off in February. The central city has seen some of the worst fighting in the 3-year-old conflict.

An agreement on a weeklong cease-fire that allowed more than 1,000 civilians to leave Homs' rebel-held areas was hailed as the only achievement of the recent Geneva peace talks that Brahimi mediated.

The deal did not hold, however, and fighting between President Bashar Assad's forces and the rebels trying to overthrow him has raged for weeks in Homs.

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