Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Croatia To Quit UN Golan Force After Reports of Arms Shipments to Syrian Rebels

Croatia will pull its soldiers out of the U.N. peace force in the Golan Heights as a precautionary step, the government said on Thursday, after media reports that Croatian arms were being sent to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

The Croatian government denied the reports and said it had never sold or donated weapons to the rebels, but Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said the damage was already done.

“We can deny over and over again, but everyone has already read these reports and our soldiers are no longer safe. We want them to return home safe and sound,” he told a cabinet meeting. He did not elaborate further on Croatia’s reasons for the move.

Croatia, which joined NATO in 2008, has 98 soldiers in the U.N. force that has helped maintain calm in a demilitarised zone along Syria’s Golan frontier with Israel since a ceasefire that ended the 1973 Middle East war.

The United Nations has warned that the almost two-year-old Syrian civil war, which has killed nearly 70,000 people, could spill over into the sensitive Golan region.

Earlier this week the New York Times and Croatian media said Syrian rebels had been given Croatian armour-piercing grenades, rocket launchers and recoilless cannons, and that these arms had been flown by Jordanian cargo planes from Zagreb airport.

President Ivo Josipovic, the supreme commander of Croatia’s armed forces, said he would order the soldiers to be withdrawn.

“We shall respect Croatia’s international obligations and safety requirements of the soldiers from our partner countries,” a statement by Josipovic’s office said on Thursday.

The United Nations reported on Tuesday that a member of the peace force in the Golan’s demilitarised zone had gone missing.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.