Force Commander's statement regarding the current situation

29 May 2013

Force Commander's statement regarding the current situation

May 27, 2013 – The situation in the UNDOF area of responsibility has remained volatile

over the past months with fighting between the Syrian Arab Armed Forces and Anti-Government Armed Elements continuing. In the past three months, the Mission itself experienced incidents when UNDOF peacekeepers and Military Observers of the UNTSO Observer Group Golan were taken from their positions only to be returned some time later while the positions were damaged and equipment removed.

It is therefore important to highlight once more that UNDOF was established by the Security Council in resolution 350 (1974) pursuant to the signing of the agreement on disengagement of forces between Israel and Syria in Geneva with the mandate to use its best efforts to maintain the ceasefire and to see that it is scrupulously observed as well as to supervise the Disengagement of Forces Agreement and Protocol thereto with regard to the areas of separation and limitation. In implementing its mandate, UNDOF maintains close liaison with both parties, Syria and Israel. UNDOF does not have a role in the current crisis in Syria and it is paramount for it to retain its impartiality and not be seen as supporting either SAAF or AGAEs.

In order for UNDOF to be in a position to implement its mandate impartially and with transparency, it is crucial that the safety and security as well as the freedom of movement of military and civilian personnel of UNDOF and UNTSO/OGG are at all times fully respected. Activities carried out by the UNDOF and UNTSO/OGG Blue Helmets are solely in furtherance of implementing the Mission's mandate to observe the disengagement of forces agreement. The current situation in Syria makes it even more important that UNDOF troops, throughout the whole area of operations, are in a position to carry out their tasks unhindered so that there is no escalation of violence across the ceasefire line.

Landing of Syrian rounds on the other side of A line and retaliation by IDF is a grave challenge to peace in Golan Heights and UNDOF engages both parties effectively and urges them to show restraint and patience.