TEL AVIV (Jan. 1)
The 1,400 troops of the United Nations Disengagement Observers Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights have been equipped with gas masks and other anti-chemical warfare gear and are being trained in their use, UNDOF commander Maj. Gen. Gustav Welin disclosed Tuesday.
Welin, who is Swedish, insisted however that the precaution does not mean that UNDOF anticipates the use of chemical weapons in a future conflict between Israel and Syria on the Heights.
He made his remarks during a Chanukah-New Year reception given by the Israel Defense Force liaison unit with UNDOF at the Ganei Hamat Hotel in Tiberias.
Welin and his deputy, Brig. Gen. Douglas Joel, said there were no signs of suspicious activity or massing or redeployment of troops by either side on the Golan Heights. In fact, the level of forces at the moment is below the strength permitted by the 1974 disengagement agreement signed by Israel and Syria in Geneva after the Yom Kippur War, Joel said.