U.N. pulls nonessential international staff from Syria
by John Heilprin
December 3, 2012
GENEVA — The United Nations has ordered all of its non-essential international staff to leave Syria, saying Monday that the escalating violence in the civil war-struck country is making it harder and more risky for humanitarian workers to do their jobs. The U.N. also plans to reduce some of its field work in the Arab state.
More than 40,000 people have been killed since Syrians began a revolt against President Bashar Assad in March of last year. Dozens of aid workers have been caught in the crossfire and killed.
Officials said up to a quarter of the 100 international staff working for several U.N. agencies could exit by week’s end.
The U.N. also has decided to halt field trips into Syria from the capital Damascus by its international staff except in certain emergency cases. Some U.N. agencies also are relocating staff from the hard-struck city of Aleppo, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.