Austria: Peacekeepers may leave Golan if EU arms rebels

May 21, 2013 20:44

VIENNA - Austria may pull its peacekeeping troops from the Golan Heights, evacuating the UN buffer zone, its defense minister warned on Tuesday, as Syria and Israel exchanged fire across a long dormant frontline.

Vienna's warning was aimed at Britain and other allies which want to help Syrian rebels by lifting an EU arms embargo - doing so, minister Gerald Klug told Reuters, would rob Austrian troops of their neutrality in a Syrian conflict that has already seen foreign peacekeepers come under fire and some even held hostage.

He stopped short of saying an end to the EU arms ban would automatically prompt the departure of the 380 Austrian soldiers.

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