UN: Risk of escalation in Syria-Israel tensions in Golan

By REUTERS
December 18, 2012 01:17

 
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UNITED NATIONS - A US and Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution to extend a peacekeeping mission in a demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel warns that tensions between the neighbors could escalate as Syria's civil war spills into the area.

The draft resolution, which is due to be adopted by the 15-member council on Wednesday, expresses concern at the presence of the Syrian army, armed opposition groups and unauthorized military equipment in the so-called area of separation.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War. Syrian troops are not allowed in the area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974. Israel and Syria are still technically at war.

Syria's 20-month civil war recently began to spill over into the zone, which had been largely quiet since the 1973 ceasefire. Stray shells and bullets have landed on the Israeli-controlled side and Israeli troops have fired shells into Syria in response.

Last month a convoy of UN peacekeepers came under fire near the airport in Damascus. The draft Security Council resolution condemns the incident in which it says five peacekeepers were injured.

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