Austrian UN peacekeepers begin Golan pullout

AP News
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Posted: Jun 12, 2013 1:59 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Austria's U.N. peacekeepers have begun withdrawing from the Golan Heights after fighting from the Syrian civil war threatened their positions last week.

Associated Press footage shows Austrian troops leaving the Syrian side and moving to the Israeli side of the Golan on Wednesday.

Austria announced last week it would remove its 377 peacekeepers from the 911-member U.N. force after Syrian rebels overran a crossing point near the Israel border.

U.N. forces have been posted in the Golan since 1974 to monitor the cease-fire of the 1973 war. The force also includes 341 Philippine soldiers and 193 from India. Croatia withdrew in March, fearing its troops would be targeted.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that the Austrians' withdrawal shows his country can only rely on itself for security.