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UN pulls some staff out of Syria because of rising danger

A hospital in Aleppo, Syria, destroyed by airstrikes targeting the rebel-controlled area last week.

Narciso Contreras/AP

The United Nations is to pull non-essential staff out of Syria because of the growing conflict dangers and is restricting travel for those remaining, a UN news agency said Monday.

A quarter of the 100 international staff still in Damascus could leave this week, some staff could be moved out of the northern city of Aleppo and travel outside the capital will be restricted, the IRIN agency quoted UN humanitarian officials as saying.

The UN press office made no immediate comment.

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The United Nations is worried about the mounting intensity of the 20-month-old conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and opposition rebels. It has also acted after UN workers were targeted in recent attacks.

"The security situation has become extremely difficult, including in Damascus," Radhouane Nouicer, regional humanitarian coordinator in Syria was quoted as saying in Damascus.

"For as long as international humanitarian law is not fully observed by all parties to this conflict and for as long as the safety of humanitarian workers is not strictly secured, UN agencies have to review the size of their presence in the country as well as the way they deliver humanitarian aid," Nouicer added.

Two UN convoys en route to Damascus airport were hit by gunfire last week.

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