JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 170 troops from Fiji will join the United Nations peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights in the wake of the withdrawal of Austrian troops.
The new peacekeepers will arrive in the region at the end of the month, the United Nations announced Monday. The 380 Austrian troops left the region last week after fighting between government and rebel forces in Syria’s two-year civil war placed them in danger. Croatia withdrew from the peacekeeping force earlier in the year due to similar fears.
There are currently 341 troops from the Philippines and 193 troops from India stationed on the Golan Heights as part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, which has been stationed on the Golan since 1974, in the wake of a cease-fire agreement signed after the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The force is supposed to be comprised of about 1,000 troops. Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for adding troops up to 1,250 and enhancing the self-defense capabilities of the peacekeeping force.