UN Yanking Staff From Syria

While US says it is 'planning to take action' if chemical weapons threat materializes

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2012 12:44 PM CST

(Newser) – The UN is yanking "all non-essential international staff" out of Syria in response to the escalating violence there, it announced today. Up to a quarter of its 100 foreign staffers may leave within the week, the BBC reports. The UN has also temporarily forbidden all field trips into Syria from Damascus. "For as long as international humanitarian law is not full observed by all parties … UN agencies have to review the size of their presence," one official says.

The move came on the heels of reports that Syria was mobilizing its chemical arsenal, and following Hillary Clinton's stark warning to the regime not to use those weapons: "I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do," Clinton said today, according to CNN, "but suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur."

In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 photo, a man collects his belongings after his home was damaged due to heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria.
In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 photo, a man collects his belongings after his home was damaged due to heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras)
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