Philippines studying Golan pull out after UN troops injured

A picture taken on June 6, 2013 from the Israeli side along the Israel-Syria ceasefire line in the Golan Heights. (AFP)

UN peacekeeping forces were studying on Friday whether to pullout of the Golan Heights after Austria withdrew and two UN soldiers were injured in Syrian infighting.

Fighting flared between Syrian regime troops and rebels along the border with Israel as the Syrian army battled for control over the strategic Quneitra crossing.

The Philippines said on Friday it is reviewing a troop withdrawal after a Filipino soldier was wounded.

The Department of Foreign Affairs recommended last month to President Benigno Aquino that the Philippines withdraw because of security concerns, but presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said no decision had yet been made, according to AFP.

"The recommendation re (regarding) the deployment of forces is being studied as of the present time," she said in a statement to AFP when asked on Friday about a decision.

The Foreign affairs spokesman, however, reiterated that his department's stands firm on the fact that 341 Filipino troops should be pulled out of the Golan Heights.

Philippine military chief General Emmanuel Bautista said Friday the decision to pull out was up to the government, but his soldiers were prepared for the dangers, AFP reported.

"We can manage any risk, we have gone to areas where we exposed our people to combat," he told AFP, citing the Filipino troops who fought with the UN force in Korea in the 1950s.

"You can't remove the risk. That is why we are there: to prevent conflict," he told reporters.

India also has troops serving in the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has monitored a ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974.

 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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