Nightly News | January 19, 2014
>>> as the bloody civil war in syria drags on, international peace conference at ending that conflict is finally set to begin in wednesday in switzerland with at least some of the rebel in opposition groups planning to attend along with members of the syrian government. anna roberts has more on this tonight.
>> reporter: in this destroyed suburb of damascus, these boxes of food may be the difference between life and death . this girl is savoring the taste of sugar and milk. people here are caught between the two sides of syria's bitter civil war and have been cut off from the rest of the city for months. the food boxes are a gesture, allowed through by the syrian government as the country's warring factions get ready to meet in switzerland later this week. some opposition groups had asked that president assad step down before the negotiations take place. if we wanted to surrender, we would have surrendered from the start. this issue is not under discussion. syrian state tv described this quote later as inaccurate. whatever he did or did not say, it's clear the sides preparing to meet is huge.
>> both sides, including their backers in the region, iran and saudi arabia , do not believe that they have to negotiate at this point. and i don't expect that they will, seriously, until they have to.
>> reporter: so the fighting continues. one of the few real hopes of the upcoming talks, perhaps cease fires to allow humanitarian aid to reach the vulnerable. this man was allowed out of the city today. he needs medical treatment . embracing his daughter for the first time in nine months. but many thousands across this country remain trapped. annabelle roberts, nbc news, london.