* U.N. agency fed 1.5 million Syrians in November
* Some 4 million may need help in coming months, it says
* Damascus once safer but security has worsened
DUBAI, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Worsening security in Syria means
aid groups are unable to reach a million people who may be going
hungry as winter closes in, the head of the World Food Programme
(WFP) said on Thursday.
The United Nations said this week it would suspend aid
operations in Syria as a 20-month civil war tips the country
further into anarchy and more civilians get caught in the
But Ertharin Cousin of the WFP said only non-essential U.N.
administrative staff had pulled out. Her U.N. agency would
continue its work for now and "will keep as many staff in Syria
as we can for as long as we can".
She said 2.5 million people needed help and the WFP had
reached 1.5 million of them in November, up from 250,000 in
April. One major effort as the weather turned colder was to
distribute blankets and fuel for cooking and heating.
"Security... doesn't exist," she told Reuters in an
interview. She said the WFP lacked access and equipment and "it
has been estimated that the numbers (needing help in coming
months) can go up to 4 million".
WFP food supplies are mainly distributed by the Syrian Arab
Red Crescent society and a few other local partners. The needy
include some 1.1 million people who have been forced from their
homes and are sharing apartments or camping in public buildings.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the fighting
between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Damascus had been considered safer than other cities until
last week when the capital's main airport was shut down and
flights into Syria cancelled after several rebel attacks.
"The reality is not knowing how the situation is going to
evolve, watching the conflict escalate in the north, not knowing
what is going to happen in and around Damascus. It is
challenging to say what will be the outcome in the coming
months," said Cousin.
Some WFP staff had relocated to Damascus from Aleppo, which
has seen some of the fiercest fighting and heaviest bombardment
in recent months.
"We have not had access to the centre of Aleppo for quite
some time... It has got even more difficult in the last several
weeks for us to operate on the outskirts," she said.
(Editing by Sami Aboudi and Tom Pfeiffer)