Condemning recent hostile acts against United Nations peacekeepers in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) area of operations, the Security Council today demanded that all groups other than UNDOF must abandon all Force positions and the Quneitra crossing point, and return the peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons and other equipment.
In a presidential statement issued, the 15-nation body urged UN Member States with influence to convey strongly to non-State armed actors in the area the need for an immediate halt to all activities that endangered UN peacekeepers and impeded them in their Security Council mandated duties.
The measure comes after dozens of UNDOFF troops were detained three weeks ago by armed elements of the opposition in the vicinity of Quneitra amid increased fighting in the area between Syrian Government forces and armed groups.
The Council reiterated that the mandate of UNDOF and its impartiality, operations, safety and security must be respected, and called upon parties to ensure full security of its personnel and full implementation of the 1974 agreement, stressing that there could never be any justification for attacks on or the detention of United Nations peacekeepers.
Noting with concern the deteriorating security situation in UNDOF’s area of operation due to the ongoing Syrian conflict and the activities of non-State armed actors, including Al-Nusra Front, and the risk it poses to the disengagement agreement and to UN peacekeepers serving there, the Council “recognizes the necessity of efforts to flexibly adjust UNDOF’s posture to minimize risk to UN personnel as UNDOF continues to implement its mandate.”