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U.N. reducing international staff in Damascus

UNITED NATIONS The United Nations says it is temporarily reducing its international staff in Damascus following mortar fire that damaged a hotel and a U.N. vehicle.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday that the U.N. is temporarily relocating some Damascus-based staff of the office of joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to Beirut and to the office's main office in Cairo.

He said all national staff from Brahimi's office have been asked to work from home until further notice.

Nesirky said the shelling Sunday and Monday in proximity to the hotel and on the grounds caused some damage to the building and cars.

"These measures are being undertaken solely for security reasons," he said.

Nesirky said U.N. agencies will continue delivering humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians in need.

There are approximately 100 international staffer and 800 national staffer, working in Damascus with various U.N. agencies and programs, such as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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