SDF to end Golan Heights mission

Kyodo

The government plans to withdraw the Self-Defense Forces from U.N. peacekeeping operations in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, with an official announcement expected as early as Friday, government sources said Wednesday.

The government has been considering pulling the SDF out of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights amid worsening security conditions.

The UNDOF has been supervising the ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974. Last July, Syrian troops clashed with rebel forces in a demilitarized area where the UNDOF was operating.

Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said at a news conference Tuesday that the situation in Syria is deteriorating.

Ending participation in the mission was already being urged because the SDF has been in the Golan Heights since 1996 in Japan’s longest-running peacekeeping operation.