The United Nations
announced Monday that 170 peacekeepers from Fiji will join the UN's Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) stationed on the Israel-
border by the end of the month.
They will be replacing Austrian forces who have pulled out of the area following an escalation in the fighting between Assad's forces and the rebels.
troops left the Golan Heights area last week. Austria's dramatic decision to withdraw from the area led the UN's Security Council to harshly condemn the spread of violence to the demilitarized buffer zone. The Philippines later also announced they will be pulling their forces from the area.
Austrians leaving Golan (Photo: Reuters)
Fiji force to replace Austrians (Photo: EPA)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon advised the Security Council to expand UNDOF to 1,250 soldiers and improve its self protection capabilities by upgrading its equipment.
In a statement issued after Austria's withdrawal, Ban warned that the growing violence in the Golan Heights jeopardizes the Israel-Syria ceasefire agreement.
border crossing is considered a main target for rebel forces who see it as a strategic asset.
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