According to reports from Moscow, Israel’s Foreign Ministry and defense establishment officials asked President Reuven Rivlin to address the return of UN peacekeeping troops along the Syrian border during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Wednesday, 6 Adar-II. The two met for two hours, half of which in the presence of a smaller high-level forum.
According to the reports, based on an Israeli official present for the meeting in the Kremlin, President Rivlin spoke to President Putin about returning US forces along the border between the Golan Heights and Syria, to establish a buffer zone as part of ongoing ceasefire efforts in Syria. Israel feels the return of the UN force would add a measure of stability along its northern border.
The source present during the meeting added Mr. Putin received the request with “great understanding”.
The UN’s observer force on the Golan, known as the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), numbered about 1,000 troops. It was set into place following the 1973 Yom Kippur War and patrolled what became known as the Purple Line until 2013 when peacekeepers left due to the escalating civil war in Syria.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)