Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 23 APR 2014
10:23 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
2 Austrian soldiers wounded in Damascus shooting
Agence France Presse
Syrian citizens walk in a destroyed street that was attacked on Wednesday by Syrian forces warplanes, at Abu al-Hol street in Homs province, Syria, Thursday Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Homs City Union of The Syrian Revolution)
Syrian citizens walk in a destroyed street that was attacked on Wednesday by Syrian forces warplanes, at Abu al-Hol street in Homs province, Syria, Thursday Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Homs City Union of The Syrian Revolution)
A+ A-

VIENNA: Two Austrian soldiers stationed with the UN force on the Golan Heights were shot and wounded in Syria while their convoy was travelling to Damascus airport on Thursday, their defence ministry said.

The two troops, whose lives were not in danger, were part of the Austrian contingent of the United Nations Disengagement Observers Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights and were travelling to Damascus airport to fly back to Austria after their tour of duty, the ministry said.

Two more soldiers in the Austrian convoy were lightly injured by fragments, it added.

It was unclear whether the shooters were Syrian government forces or rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad's regime, according to a ministry spokesman.

The United Nations confirmed the incident, saying it had happened "in an area of Damascus where military operations between the Syrian armed forces and armed members of the opposition were taking place."

"The Secretary General remains deeply concerned about the evolution of the conflict in Syria," the statement from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said.

"As today's incident illustrates, the ongoing clashes between the Syrian armed forces and the armed members of the opposition affect UNDOF's operations and pose a serious risk to United Nations personnel on the ground.

"Safety and security of United Nations personnel is of the highest priority for the United Nations," the statement added.

One soldier was shot in the arm and the other in the shoulder, but both were quickly treated by an accompanying doctor and the convoy then arrived at the airport.

Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger and Defence Minister Norbert Darabos condemned the attack, adding they would file a loud protest with the UN Security Council.

"That Austrian peacekeepers are shot at must be condemned in the strongest terms and demands appropriate consequences," they said in a joint statement.

"The Austrian government will do everything it can, along with the UN, to make sure this incident is resolved clearly."

Spindelegger had instructed the Austrian embassy in Damascus to file a protest with the Syrian government, and the Syrian ambassador in Vienna was to be summoned to the foreign ministry on Thursday to give an explanation.

"Syria is responsible for the safety of our UNDOF soldiers and must ensure that they can fulfil their international mandate," Spindelegger said.

In Syria, state television, quoting a foreign ministry source, blamed the shootings on rebels.

"At around 12 noon (1000 GMT), and while a terrorist armed group was firing towards an army post in the area of Aqraba, the shots hit a vehicle of UNDOF, leading to the injury of two members of those forces," it said.

Some 170 Austrian UN troops were at Damascus airport Thursday -- 100 of them waiting to be flown out as part of their regular six-month rotation, 70 others on their way to the Golan Heights, according to the defence ministry.

The situation there was quiet at the moment, it said.

Syrian troops mounted an assault on rebels near Damascus on Thursday, closing off the road to the airport before later securing it, authorities said, amid a widespread telecommunications outage.

Austria contributes some 370 soldiers to UNDOF on the Golan Heights, near Syria's border with Israel. The situation in that region was currently calm, the defence ministry said.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community. The Security Council established UNDOF in 1974 to enforce a ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Syria
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 22, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS