UN peacekeepers shot at in Golan Heights—spokesman
UNITED NATIONS—The safety of UN observers in the Golan Heights is under “very active review” after a shooting in the hours following the release of 21 peacekeepers by Syrian rebels, the UN spokesman said Monday.
“Over the weekend there was an incident in which one post came under fire from two unidentified individuals,” spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.
An observation post manned by peacekeepers was the target of the attack on Sunday, a UN peacekeeping official said. No member of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was hurt, however.
On Saturday, Syrian rebels released 21 Filipino peacekeepers who were abducted on Wednesday.
Nesirky said the review had been launched because of growing insecurity over several weeks as the two-year-old Syrian civil war spreads.
“This is a very dangerous place to operate and it’s therefore obvious that our colleagues in peacekeeping operations would be reviewing very carefully the way that we then carry out patrols and so on, on the ground,” Nesirky said.
UN officials said that UNDOF, which has about 1,000 peacekeepers from the Philippines, India and Austria, has already ended night patrols in the zone.
Croatia recently said it was pulling its contingent out because of fears over safety. Canada and Japan pulled their small number of peacekeepers out last year.
UNDOF has been in the Golan Heights since 1974 monitoring a ceasefire between Syria and Israel.