Golan Heights latest spillover threat

March 28, 2013 at 11:16 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, March 28 (UPI) -- Stability from a cease-fire enacted in the 1970s in the Golan Heights might deteriorate because of the Syrian civil war, the U.N. Security Council said.

Peacekeepers with the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force have since 1974 monitored a truce between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights. The Security Council said it was concerned about the regional stability given the presence of Syrian and rebel forces in the demilitarized border area.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin read a statement on behalf of the Security Council reminding Syria of its responsibility to ensure that UNDOF forces have freedom of movement.

"The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the risk that all military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose to the long-held cease-fire and the local population," he said.

Personnel from UNDOF were detained briefly. Churkin said the Security Council had additional concerns after U.N. vehicles were fired on by regional forces.

The Security Council in December extended the UNDOF mandate to June 30. U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous this week said the mission was scaling back its mission in response to security threats.

"We have had to reduce somewhat the footprint of UNDOF in the Golan Heights in the area of operation," he said in a statement.

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