The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which was established in 1974 to “[m]aintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria” and … “[s]upervise the areas of separation and limitation, as provided in the May 1974 Agreement on Disengagement,” withdrew its peacekeepers from Syrian territory today because “the situation has deteriorated severely over the last several days.”
Reuters quoted United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric:
“Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the U.N. peacekeepers along the ‘Bravo’ (Syrian) line and in Camp Faouar,” he said, adding that all U.N. personnel in those positions have been moved to the Israeli side.
In addition, Reuters reported:
Separately, a new U.N. report on UNDOF submitted to the Security Council, an advance copy of which was obtained by Reuters, said the Syrian military and various armed groups have increased their presence along the ceasefire line in violation of the 1973 truce, forcing the mission to abandon key positions.
That was “significantly impacting the mission’s ability to carry out its mandate,” it added.
— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) September 15, 2014
Last month, a group of peacekeepers were kidnapped by the al Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda offshoot; the peacekeepers were released to Israel earlier this week. After the kidnapping, another group of peacekeepers came under fire from a rebel group and escaped to Israel. Last week it was reported that those peacekeepers had been saved by the IDF.
[Photo: Susan Donkin / YouTube ]