UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Croatia has decided to pull all its military personnel out of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which is monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but no specific time for the withdrawal has been set, Eduardo del Buey, the deputy UN spokesman, told reporters here Thursday.
"On February 28, the Permanent Mission of Croatia (to the United Nations) has informed the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations that the government of Croatia had decided to withdraw all Croatian military personnel from UNDOF due to the deteriorating security situation," del Buey said in response to a question at a daily news briefing here.
"From 27 February, all operations of the Croatian contingent within UNDOF were restricted to static activities," he said. "The timeline for their withdrawal has not yet been set."
At present, the mission has 1,008 troops, del Buey said, adding that current troop contributors to UNDOF include the Philippines, India, Austria, and Croatia, which has some 100 troops in the UN peacekeeping mission. The UNDOF has been in the Golan Heights since 1974.
The Croatian government made the decision after 21 UN peacekeepers from the Philippines were taken hostage by Syrian rebels last week. The seized peacekeepers were released on Saturday after being held for three days.