UN Reevaluating Golan Peacekeeping Mission

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Following the release of 21 Filipino troops by their Syrian abductors last weekend, the UN is reevaluating its 40-year-old international peacekeeping mission along the Israeli-Syrian border.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is considering abandoning the mission, fearing spreading violence from Syria's two-year civil war.

The international peacekeeping forces, numbering about 1,000, were deployed following the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the spring of 1974.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told the press on Monday the border between Syria and the Golan Heights "is a very dangerous place to operate," The Times of Israel reported.

A shooting attack by rebel forces on a U.N. post in the region following the release of the Filipino troops prompted UNDOF to look into the safety of peacekeeping troops. There were no injuries, but it's clear the situation is becoming increasingly dangerous.

"This is a very dangerous place to operate and it's therefore obvious that our colleagues in peacekeeping operations would be reviewing very carefully the way that we then carry out patrols and so on, on the ground," Nesirky told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces continues to closely monitor the takeover of the Syrian side of the border by al Qaeda forces working with the Syria rebels.

On Sunday, Syrian rebel forces posted a video promising to retake the Golan Heights from Israel once they've overthrown President Bashar Assad's regime.

"We are in the occupied Golan Heights, which the traitor Hafez Assad [Bashar Assad's father] sold to Israel 40 years ago," the Syrian rebel fighter says. "These lands are blessed and the despicable Assad family promised to liberate them, but for 40 years the Syrian Army did not fire a single bullet," he continues.

"We will open a military campaign against Israel. We will fire the bullets that Assad did not and we will liberate the Golan."

Before Israel retook the Golan Heights, Syria used the area to fire on Israeli farmers in the Hula Valley below, while their children slept in bomb shelters. In the 40 years that followed, not only has the border been relatively quiet, but Israel invested millions in infrastructure to develop the Golan. It's very different today from the neglected area it was under Syria.

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