Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said his country's decision to pull its peacekeeping battalion with the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) out from the Golan came after the EU approved a decision to lift the embargo on sending weapons to armed groups in Syria.
In a statement on Sunday, Spindelegger said that the government "has not announced the withdrawal of Austrian troops abruptly.''
''We informed everyone that the Austrian mission in Golan wouldn't be safe if the EU approved the lifting of the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition,'' he said, citing repeated attacks and kidnappings against the UNDOF personnel in Golan recently.
Spindelegger said that the situation has become extremely dangerous in the Golan and that 23 Austrians soldiers have been killed since they started their mission in the Syrian Golan in 1974.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer