It’s not just the countries on the Security Council. Four United Nations soldiers patrolling the Golan Heights (the disputed strip of land area between Syria and Israel) were taken by Syrian insurgents yesterday. All four are Filipino. In March 2013, 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers were detained in the same area. They were freed after two days. They are members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which was established in 1974 as a ceasefire to end the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Today there are approximately 1,000 troops provided by Austria, India, Morocco, Philippines and Republic of Moldova. (In March 2013, Japan and Croatia withdrew soldiers from UNDOF in response to recent violence.) The annual operating budget for the UNDOF is $48 million (less than 1% of the UN peacekeeping budget.)
UNDOF has seen 43 military fatalities since 1974, including the Canadian Forces aircraft (Buffalo 461) that went down just three months after UNDOF was implemented (August 1974). The aircraft was on a routine supply flight from Beirut to bring supplies for Canadian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. It was the largest single-day loss of life in Canada’s peace-keeping history.