The United Nations has suspended operations in Syria and begun withdrawing non-essential staff, as the brutal civil conflict rages and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime vowed it would never use chemical weapons against its own people.
A UN spokesman has told reporters the organisation is suspending its Syria missions indefinitely, amid fresh bloodshed in the war that's already claimed an estimated 41-thousand lives since starting in March 2011.
The UN pullout coincides with the United States voicing concerns that Assad's forces might be weighing the use of chemical weapons.
US media reports earlier said the Syrian military had been detected moving the weapons around, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned their deployment would cross a red line.
Photo: Getty Images