Golan Heights: Austria Withdraws Its UN Troops
The Austrian government ordered the withdrawal of its peacekeepers from the Golan Heights in Syria. The 380 soldiers were pulled out because of the continuing deterioration of the situation in the area.
In The Service of Peace for 39 Years
Austrian soldiers have been in the area for 39 years and made up the largest contingent of the approximately 900 UN soldiers posted to the Golan Heights. The decision to pull out followed similar steps by Japan and Croatia earlier in the year.
During the months before the withdrawal, UN troops had witnessed increasing spill-over from the conflict in Syria, with mortar fire hitting the Israeli-controlled parts of the Heights.
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force
Established in 1974 to monitor the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is tasked with upholding peace in the demilitarized border area between the two countries.