News / Middle East

UN to Temporarily Relocate Some Staff from Syria

Free Syrian Army fighters drop shell into a firing tube, in Damascus countryside, Syria, Mar 24,2013 (Ugarit News via AP video)Free Syrian Army fighters drop shell into a firing tube, in Damascus countryside, Syria, Mar 24,2013 (Ugarit News via AP video)
x
Free Syrian Army fighters drop shell into a firing tube, in Damascus countryside, Syria, Mar 24,2013 (Ugarit News via AP video)
Free Syrian Army fighters drop shell into a firing tube, in Damascus countryside, Syria, Mar 24,2013 (Ugarit News via AP video)
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations said Monday it is relocating about 50 of its international personnel from the Syrian capital after mortars fell near their hotel.

U.N. Spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters that a number of mortar shells fell near the Damascus hotel housing U.N. staff on Sunday and Monday. He said there was damage to the building and some cars, including a U.N. vehicle.  

The United Nation’s Department of Security assessed the situation and decided some personnel should be temporarily moved out of the country for safety reasons.

Those staffers are with the office of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, who has been trying to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis for several months.

Nesirky said the move is strictly for security reasons. “We are temporarily relocating some of the U.N. international staff in Syria out of the country. As part of that effort, most of the Damascus-based staff of the Office of the Joint Special Representative for Syria are being temporarily relocated to Beirut and the Joint Special Representative's main office in Cairo. All of the national staff of that office have been asked to work from home, until further notice,” Nesirky said.

He said the United Nations would continue to help the Syrian people work towards a political solution to the two-year old crisis and he noted that the U.N.’s humanitarian work assisting millions of Syrians would continue.

The U.N. says it has about 100 international and 800 national staff inside Syria.

Separately, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week he plans to launch an investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons inside Syria. Ban said the investigation’s initial focus will be the Syrian government’s March 19 allegation that rebels used chemical weapons near Aleppo.

Britain and France wrote the U.N. chief last week asking him to investigate three other incidents in which they believe the government used chemical agents.

While not directly saying those incidents would be investigated, he asked those two governments to provide more information and said he would remain “mindful of other allegations”.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin dismissed the Western allegations Monday, saying that many political goals are being pursued in Syria.

“We see that letter [from Britain and France] as nothing else as an effort at diversion, in order to delay and possibly derail an investigation of the March 19 incident. We believe that the allegation which was made by the Syrian government is the only credible allegation of the use of chemical weapons in the course of the crisis,” Churkin said.

Churkin also said that his government wanted the United Nations to include Russian experts in their chemical weapons investigation, but had been rebuffed by the Secretariat.

Moscow has remained very close to the government in Damascus throughout the two-year-long crisis.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid