UN Confirms 'Incidents' in Golan Heights
The head of United Nations peacekeeping confirmed Thursday that shots had been fired in "incidents" on the Israel-Syria ceasefire line in the Golan heights, where Israeli radio reported a crossing point falling into the hands of Syrian rebels. Later reports said Syrian government forces retook the site.
"We are following the situation in the Golan extremely closely, it is very sensitive," the head of UN peacekeeping operations Herve Ladsous told reporters in Paris, according to the AFP news agency.
"We have adjusted the stance of the UN force (in Golan) in real time, taking particular account of the security of our staff."
Ladsous added that "there were shots," but would not confirm the report that the Syrian rebels had taken control of the crossing point.
The UN has had a peacekeeping force, currently of 1,200 men, in the Golan since 1974 and Ladsous said its presence was not threatened by Thursday's incidents.
"It is in the interest of the international community that the UN force is able to continue it work in favour of regional stability."
"Austria and the Philippines, who are the biggest contributors, are, for the moment, keeping their contingents. We really need them," he added, according to AFP.
Austria has threatened to pull out its troops in the event of arms being supplied to the Syrian opposition.