Syria Homs evacuation
A Member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent helps a man from a besieged area of Homs upon his arrival to the area under government control Reuters

The second round of international peace talks between the rival groups in Syria is set to begin in Geneva as hundreds of civilians flee the rebel-held besieged city of Homs in UN humanitarian aid convoys.

Officials representing President Bashar al-Assad have already arrived in the Swiss city for the talks which are expected to last for five days.

The opposition delegates are yet to reach Geneva. The anti-Assad National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is likely to be represented by the same set of officials who took part in the earlier round of talks.

The ceasefire agreement between the delegates of the Syrian regime and the opposition group was part of the deal struck in the first round of UN-negotiated talks which ended on 31 January without any significant breakthrough.

The talks which are about to begin have also coincided with the evacuation of at least 600 civilians, mostly women and children, from the war-torn city of Homs.

"The last vehicle has arrived and the total is 611 people," the governor of Homs Talal Barazi told local news channel Al Mayadeen.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which closely keeps track of the Syrian conflict has also confirmed a similar figure.

The residents, who were trapped for several months without food supplies, were rescued by UN and Syrian Red Crescent workers, whose convoys earlier faced mortar and gunfire.

The aid workers were also able to bring in relief supplies of food, water and medicine to hundreds of others trapped in Homs. The central Syrian city, a key battleground of the conflict, is home to nearly 2,500 people without much access to emergency supplies.

"When I look around me and see the level of need, and suffering of all - especially the children, the women and the elderly - let me say that even though it's a significant amount of medical and nutritional aid, it's still just a drop. But let's start with this drop," UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria Yacoub el Hillo said in a video, believed to be filmed over the weekend, according to Reuters.

Other people are also expected to be evacuated soon from the city.

"I continue to call on those engaged in this brutal conflict to respect the humanitarian pause, ensure the protection of civilians and facilitate the safe delivery of aid. The United Nations and our humanitarian partners will not be deterred from doing the best we can to bring aid to those needing our help," UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said when the aid convoys were attacked.