UN agency pulls staff out of Syria 
as military action disrupts supplies

The UN refugee agency has been forced to withdraw five of its 12 staff from the north-eastern al-Hasaka province in Syria, blaming rising insecurity.

Fighting in Ras al-Ayn, a town in the province, has led to a massive flow of Syrian refugees fleeing into Turkey.

The move came as an agency spokeswoman said a Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse in Aleppo was apparently shelled and 13,000 blankets burned.

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She said “recent deliveries have been very difficult”, particularly in Damascus, where operations were disrupted for two days and a truck carrying 600 blankets was hijacked outside the city.

More than 36,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March 2011.

The exodus also came as a Syrian jet bombed a rebel-held region near the border with Turkey for a second day yesterday, killing at least one person and wounding three others, an official said.

An Associated Press video journalist saw the plane strike an area around the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, just across the border from the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, and plumes of smoke could be seen rising into the sky.

The jet struck an area near the Turkish border “five times within a period of 10 minutes”, according to a local official.

Turkish ambulances sped to the border to carry Syrians wounded in the attack to Turkish hospitals.

The official said four wounded Syrians were taken to Turkey for treatment yesterday and one of them died.