The Security Council today extended the nearly 40-year-old United Nations observer force in the Golan Heights for another six months, calling on all parties in the Syrian civil war to cease military actions in the area.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council extended the mandate of the 1,350-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which monitors the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war, until 30 June, and strongly condemned recent intense fighting on the Syrian side of the area of separation.
Calling on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation, the resolution stressed that there should be no military activity of any kind there either by the Syrian army or armed opposition groups.
It urged “Member States to convey strongly to the Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF's area of operation to halt all activities that endanger United Nations peacekeepers on the ground and to accord the United Nations personnel on the ground the freedom to carry out their mandate safely and securely.”
It noted the increased use by Syrian opposition and other groups of improvised explosive devices in the area, and recalled various incidents in October and November, including fighting in which an UNDOF member was injured, Syrian army fire on mission vehicles and the firing on and detention of four UNDOF personnel by Syrian opposition elements.
The resolution called on all parties to “cooperate fully with the operations of UNDOF, to respect its privileges and immunities and to ensure its freedom of movement, as well as the security of and unhindered and immediate access for the United Nations personnel carrying out their mandate.”
Forty-three UNDOF military personnel and one international civilian worker have been killed since the force was first set up.