ISLAMABAD, Dec 22 (APP):The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution stressing no military activity should occur in the de-militarized zone between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as the UN peacekeepers’ return to the area.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2450 (2018), the 15-member Council renewed the mandate of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) until 30 June 2019, while stressing the obligation of the parties to scrupulously and fully respect the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement.
Calling upon them to immediately implement resolution 338 (1973) — which obliges them to cease all firing and terminate all military activity” Council members underlined that there should be no military activity by armed opposition groups in the area of separation, including by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces.
For nearly four decades, UNDOF helped enforce the truce between Israel and Syria. But the seven-year Syrian war moved into the zone not only with intense fighting but the abduction of peacekeepers by militants, triggering UNDOF to retreat to the Israeli side of the zone in 2014.
In August this year, the UN said it was implementing “a gradual return” of its peacekeeping force to the zone after its security situation had improved.
In that regard, the Council urged Member States to convey strongly to Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF’s area of operations that the Force remains an impartial entity, to halt all activities that endanger United Nations peacekeepers and to accord the Organization’s personnel the freedom needed to carry out their mandate safely and securely. It further encouraged the parties to take advantage of UNDOF’s liaison function regularly to address issues of mutual concern.
Under other terms, the Council called upon all groups other than UNDOF to abandon all UNDOF positions; return the peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons and other equipment; cooperate fully with the Force’s operations; respect its privileges and immunities; and ensure its freedom of movement.