- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
U.N. pulls nonessential international staff from Syria
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.
"The increasing insecurity is making it more difficult for humanitarian actors to operate and to address the needs of affected people," said Radhouane Nouicer, the U.N.'s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria.
"We are looking at how we can adjust our methods of work so that we continue to reach as many people in need as we can throughout the country."
But while the U.N. is reviewing its contingency and aid plans, Nouicer said, "most of all, we need an end to the unrelenting violence. All calls, from all sides, for parties to honur their obligations to protect civilians in Syria have had little effect, and ordinary people are paying the price."
Eight U.N. staff have been killed since the start of the 20-month uprising that has turned into a full-blown civil war. Eighteen volunteers with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, through which most international aid has been channeled, also have been killed, including seven while they were on duty.
U.N. officials said there was no exact limit on the number of international staff who might remain in Syria.
The fighting over the past few weeks in and around Damascus has been the most serious in the capital since July, when rebels captured several neighborhoods before a swift government counteroffensive swept them out.
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Redskins bypass big splash - for now - as free agency period begins
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again