Israel mulling request to replace UN peacekeepers who fled Syria border with drones

A senior Israel defense source says that "this is a very sensitive decision, with multiple security implications."

By NOAM AMIR/MAARIV HASHAVUA
October 22, 2014 10:10
1 minute read.
Israeli drone

Israeli Drone (illustrative). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The UN is considering replacing its peacekeepers who fled the Golan Heights in recent months with drones, Lebanon's Al-Manar reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Argentina's envoy to the UN made the suggestion to Israel and Syria. Damascus reportedly accepted the request, but Israel has been slow to make a decision on the matter.

A senior Israel defense source said, "this is a very sensitive decision, with multiple security implications."

Military sources said they would inform the UN of the decision in the coming days.

After two weeks of quiet in the Golan Heights, residents awoke to the sounds of explosions on Tuesday morning. Fighting between Syrian rebels and Assad regime forces resumed after a respite, and clouds of smoke from the bombardments could be seen from the Israeli border.

The fighting spilled over into Israeli territory in the form of an errant mortar shell that landed in the northern Golan Heights. The incident caused no injuries or damage and was followed by several more mortal shells falling on the Syrian side of the border.

A military source said the reason for the two preceding weeks of quiet was that Syrian President Bashar Assad moved his forces in the area to the Turkish border to take part in the fighting in the Kobani area.

He added that Assad had not relinquished his plans to retake the Quneitra Crossing and the fighting in the Golan Heights could become heavier in the coming days.

The IDF has emphasized that the daily routine for Israelis in the area has not changed as a result of the fighting in the meantime, but the military is keeping a close eye on developments on the other side of the border.

It is estimated that the rebels will score further victories in renewed fighting. Since conquering the Quneitra Crossing and the surrounding areas, they have fortified their positions and prepared their front to face Assad's forces.

The major concern is from air strikes near the border, but military sources believe that such a possibility remains remote. Should Assad decide to deploy air forces in the Quneitra area, the IDF has made preparations for all scenarios.

Last month, the IDF shot down a Syrian warplane that penetrated Israel's airspace.




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