Daily Israel Report

Security Council Condemns Syrian Violence in the Golan

UN extends UNDOF mandate while strongly condemning all military activity on the Golan Heights by the Syrian army and opposition fighters.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/19/2013, 2:08 AM

View from the Golan
View from the Golan
Flash 90

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force operating in the Golan Heights, while strongly condemning all military activity on the Golan Heights by the Syrian army and opposition fighters.

The Council warned that this activity could "jeopardize the ceasefire" between Syria and Israel, according to The Associated Press.

The council approved a resolution extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force until the end of June. The force, known as UNDOF, was established after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and has about 1,200 troops.

The Security Council condemned recent incidents in which shots were fired at peacekeepers by both the Syrian army and the opposition, and noted with concern the increasing use of improvised explosive devices by "elements of the Syrian opposition and other groups."

The resolution urged “Member States to convey strongly to the Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF's area of operation to halt all activities that endanger United Nations peacekeepers on the ground and to accord the United Nations personnel on the ground the freedom to carry out their mandate safely and securely.”

Earlier this year, Austria withdrew its troops from the UN monitoring force in the Golan Height s after the soldiers were repeatedly endangered by the Syrian fighting.

In one incident, Syrian rebels abducted 21 Philippine members of UNDOF. They were released to Jordan several days later.

In another incident, shots were fired at a UN observation post. The body said after this incident it was “actively reviewing” the safety of its UN observers in the Golan Heights.

The fighting in Syria has also spilled over to Israel itself. The latest incident occurred several weeks ago, when a bomb targeting Israeli soldiers was detonated in the area.