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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid