Major General Jai Shankar Menon has completed his assignment as the force commander of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors the Syria-Israel ceasefire in the Golan Heights….A special report by Arul Louis for Asian Lite News
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that he expressed his gratitude for Menon’s “dedicated leadership of UNDOF”.
Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri of Ghana succeeded Menon, Dujarric said.
Menon was appointed by former Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in February last year to be the head of mission and force commander of the UNDOF during a time when it is facing serious challenges from the Syrian upheaval.
Fighting between the Syrian army and terrorist organisations has spilled into the area under its charge to demilitarise and separate the Syrian and Israeli forces.
A report last month by Guterres said: “Different armed groups, including the listed terrorist groups Jabhat Fath al-Sham (formerly the Nusrah Front) and the Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), continued to exchange fire in the UNDOF area of operation.”
In one incident in June, UNDOF personnel at Camp Ziouani had to take cover in bunkers when a round of ammunition hit their base, the report said.
UNDOF was set up by the Security Council in 1974, a year after the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, to monitor the ceasefire.
The mission has 961 personnel, of whom 204 are from India.