UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the fighting and use of heavy weapons by Syrian government troops and armed groups on the Golan Heights.
The area that has separated Syrian and Israeli forces since 1974 is supposed to be a demilitarized zone.
A resolution co-sponsored by Russia and the United States and adopted unanimously by the council on Tuesday calls on parties to the Syrian conflict to halt military activity there.
The resolution extends the mandate of the nearly 800-strong UN peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights until June 30, 2016.
The Security Council echoed Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s findings that the ongoing military activities have the potential to escalate Syrian-Israeli tensions.
It reaffirmed its readiness to impose sanctions on individuals or groups supporting extremists.
In recent years, the Golan has seen fierce fighting between pro-Assad forces and an al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group, al-Nusra Front, among other rebels. Gun, mortar and rocket fire has occasionally crossed the border, leading to Israeli retaliatory strikes against Syrian army positions.
Meanwhile, the Syrian side of the plateau has seen a growing presence of Hezbollah-allied terror cells backed by Iran. An Iranian general, Mohammed Allahdadi, was killed in a reported Israeli airstrike while coordinating these activities in January.
Early Sunday, a purported Israeli missile attack on a Damascus suburb killed Samir Kuntar, a Hezbollah-linked terror chief who spent 29 years in an Israeli prison for his part in the kidnapping-murder of four Israelis in 1979.