UN Reduces Patrols in Golan After Rebel Kidnappings

Patrols Halted in Some Regions, Reduced in Others

by Jason Ditz, March 14, 2013

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (DOF) has dramatically reduced the number of patrols along the Syria frontier with Israeli-occupied Golan, diplomats confirmed today. The move is a response to last week’s kidnapping of 21 UN troops by Syrian rebels.

UN officials have declined to comment, but diplomats say that the patrols have been halted entirely in some of the more dangerous regions, and reduced across the board. Israeli troops have confirmed the reduction in UN patrols.

The DOF has been along the Israel-Syria frontier since 1974, but the civil war in Syria has led some nations, notably Japan and Croatia, to pull out of the mission, and the remaining nations may not be far behind, as rebels encroach deeper into the “area of separation” and render it an open combat zone, where UN troops are sitting ducks for rebels.

Israel’s military insists it had “prepared” for this pullout, but with officials openly discussing seizing yet more of the Golan Heights from Syria, this could simply mean that they are salivating at the chance to move into Syria without UN observers getting in the way.

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