Israeli army on high alert as UN hostage crisis in Syria raises prospects of Golan Heights operation

National Post | News

Israel shot down a drone over its border with Syria Sunday as it faced the growing prospect of being drawn into the country’s civil war, prompted by the hostage crisis in which jihadists are holding dozens of UN peacekeepers.

The capture of Fijian and Filipino troops in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) by the Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels Jabhat Al-Nusra last week has cast doubt over the future of the UN force on the disputed Golan Heights.

While a dramatic rescue operation spearheaded by the Irish army retrieved 70 Filipino peacekeepers over the weekend, 44 Fijian troops remain in jihadist custody. Israeli officials are believed to be urgently seeking options to shore up the UNDOF mission, which has been in the buffer zone between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights since the 1974 ceasefire.

The force comprises 1,233 international peacekeepers drawn from the Philippines, Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal and the…

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