Mortar fire in Damascus forces UN to relocate some staff

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Martin Nesirky

Security conditions in Syria have caused the United Nations to temporarily reduce the number of international staff in the capital, Damascus, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told journalists in New York on Monday.

He reported that over the past two days, a number of mortar shells had been fired in close proximity to a hotel housing UN staff causing some damage to the building and to cars in the parking lot.

Mr. Nesirky said the UN attaches great importance to the safety of all its staff, both national and international.

"With this in mind, we are temporarily relocating some of the UN 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 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. These measures are being undertaken solely for security reasons." (36 secs)

Mr. Nesirky said UN agencies and their partners remain committed to providing assistance to millions of people in need across Syria.

The UN will maintain staff in Syria at the capacity required to continue running critical humanitarian programmes and deliver assistance to civilians in need.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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