Golan Heights Peacekeeping Force in Flux
Kidnappings and spillover violence from Syria in the Golan Heights have put the long running United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in a precarious position ahead of its June 26 review. As of the latest UN report on its Disengagement Observer Force published in mid-April, three countries were contributing forces: Austria, India, and the Philippines.
As you can see in the above timeline, Austria decided in early June to fully remove its troops from the mission. They are expected to completely disengage by the end of July. The governments of India and the Philippines have also both expressed concern over safety their troops safety as the Syrian conflict spills into the area with the latter warning that it may remove its forces next. More than 100 forces from Fiji are on their way to make up some of the recently lost numbers, but the UNDOF’s position remains uncertain.
So what should we monitor for signals of escalating trouble in the separation territory between Israel and Syria? Certainly reports of troop deployment in Syria warrant a hard look although the veracity of sources needs to be considered. Additionally, we’ll be watching how Israel handles wounded citizens and fighters from Syria in the event of escalating violence.
We’ve set up a feed in Recorded Future to monitor the latest events in the Golan Heights. Now, we await the UN’s announcement to see if other countries can bolster troop numbers or if the peacekeeping force looks more likely to break down.