Earlier this week, the US government warned Americans to steer clear of Israel’s northern Golan Heights. Now the United Nations is cautioning that neighboring Syria’s ongoing civil war is likely to spill over the border.
“US citizens are advised to defer non-essential travel to and within the Golan Heights and to exercise an extra measure of caution,” read an email sent by the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to American citizens living in Israel.
The warning came after Syrian government and rebel forces engaged in a days-long battle for the border town of Quneitra, with Syrian forces entering the demilitarized buffer zone between Israel and Syria for the first time in decades.
Around the same time, Austria, which is the largest contributor of troops to the UN peacekeeping force stationed on the Golan border, announced that it was pulling its soldiers out of the region.
The peacekeepers making up the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) have been repeatedly targeted by Syrian rebels in recent months, and many have expressed their total lack of motivation to risk their lives to prevent war between Israel and its neighbors.
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