U.N. Security Council ‘concerned’ over unrest along Golan border

(JTA) — The U.N. Security Council voiced concern about the presence of Syrian government and rebel troops in the demilitarized area separating Syria from the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

"The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the risk that all military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose to the long-held cease-fire and the local population,” the Security Council said in a statement read aloud Wednesday by the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin.

A Security Council release named Syrian government and rebel troops as entering the demilitarized area.

The U.N. Disengagement Observer Force monitors an "area of separation" between Syrian and Israeli forces, a narrow strip of land running 45 miles from Mount Hermon on the Lebanese border to the Yarmouk River frontier with Jordan.

The armed struggle between rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad has posed increasing difficulties for the 1,000-strong force, which halted patrols this month after rebels held 21 Filipino observers for three days.

The Security Council also reported incidents of firing on U.N. personnel and of carjacking of U.N. vehicles.

The council "called on all parties, including armed elements of the Syrian opposition, to respect UNDOF’s freedom of movement and the safety and security of its personnel, while recalling that the primary responsibility for safety and security … rests with the Syrian Government."

Israel captured the Golan plateau from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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