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UN Peacekeeping Forces to Return to Syrian Side of Golan Heights: Security Council

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The United Nations' Security Council on Thursday unanimously agreed to a Presidential Statement, condemning the attacks on UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights and reaffirming its support for the UN Disengagement Observer Force mission (UNDOF).

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - The United Nations' Security Council on Thursday unanimously agreed to a Presidential Statement, condemning the attacks on UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights and reaffirming its support for the UN Disengagement Observer Force mission (UNDOF).

The Security Council's unanimous statement "recognizes the necessity of efforts to flexibly adjust UNDOF's posture to minimize risk to UN personnel as UNDOF continues to implement its mandate, while emphasizing that the ultimate goal is for the peacekeepers to return to their positions in UNDOF's area of operation as soon as practicable."

In late August, a group of militants, presumably of Syrian origin, captured 45 members of the UNDOF mission from Fiji. They also blocked 72 peacekeepers from the Philippines in the disputed region of the Golan Heights, an area of clashes between militants and the Syrian army.

The Council "condemned recent hostile acts against UN peacekeepers in UNDOF's area of operation by UNSC-designated terrorist groups and non-state armed actors and stresses that there can never be any justification for these attacks on and detention of UN peacekeepers."

The statement also "notes with concern the deteriorating security situation in UNDOF's area of operation due to the ongoing Syrian conflict and the activities of several non-state armed actors, including Al-Nusra Front, and the risk it poses to the disengagement agreement and to UN peacekeepers serving there."

The Al-Nusra Front, also known as Jabhat Al-Nusra, is a radical group linked to al-Qaeda. It is listed as a terrorist group by the UN Security Council.

The United Nations Disengagement Forces (UNDOF) peacekeeping mission on Golan Heights has been monitoring a 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria following the war of 1973. Currently, all UN peacekeepers have been removed from the Syrian to the Israeli side of the line of demarcation.

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