Nightly News   |  February 08, 2014

Brief Syrian Truce Thwarted, Forcing Out Aid Workers

A ceasefire was supposed to be enacted so trapped civilians could get help, but a firefight forced aid workers to retreat.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tonight, efforts to bring relief to a syrian city that has seen some of the worst suffering in that almost three-year-old civil war had to be halted today, that is after a cease fire collapsed and a convoy delivering aid saw heavy fire. more from nbc's bill neely .

>> reporter: they have come with food for the starving. they were met with mortar fire and gunshots. u.n. officials and aid workers running for their lives in the back streets of homs , the city and its people have been under cejka for two years, and today those who came to help them came under fire. this was meant to be the day that trapped civilians finally got food and medicine. but the trucks carrying the aid pulled back. there was meant to be a cease fire . it did not sound that way. it all started well, dozens of old and sick people finally allowed to leave the besieged old city, after a deal struck to help the warring sides. once safe, their faces told the story of their suffering, some in anguish, others relieved to be free. all malnourished. they told u.n. workers they had not eaten bread in five months. they survived, they said, by eating plants, weeds and olives. reunions were emotional. this man and his son had not seen each other for 18 months. old friends could not believe they were still alive. and no wonder, tens of thousands have died in the war in homs . just 83 people were led to safety, clinging to each other under the cover of armored vehicles . hundreds more left behind, the deal up in smoke. syria's war is deadlocked and unending, air strikes on homs and aleppo killing more today. peace talks were meant to resume after a humanitarian success story in homs . they don't have one tonight. well, those aid workers and u.n. officials who were pinned down for most of the day under fire have now escaped from the old city of homs , but there is no escape and no emergency food or medicine yet for the two and a half thousand civilians still