US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that Israel and Syria had agreed to open the Quneitra checkpoint in the Golan Heights to help UN peacekeepers to “prevent hostilities” in the area.
“We look to both Israel and Syria to provide UN peacekeepers the access they need as well as assurances of their safety. We also call on Syria to take the necessary steps so UNDOF [the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] can safely and effectively deploy and patrol without interference,” Haley said.
In late September, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that his state is ready to re-open the Quneitra checkpoint adding that “now the ball is in the Syrian court.”
As to the Russian attitude on this issue, Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, the deputy commander of the Russian forces in Syria, said that the upcoming reopening of the Quneitra checkpoint was “preceded by significant work carried out by the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic with the assistance of the Russian Aerospace Forces.”
“The work at the checkpoint was launched by the Russian servicemen, by the Russian military police. First of all, we came to the site, checked it, then proceeded with extensive work to demine the area. At the final stage, the territory’s clearance was checked by the mine clearance specialists of the UN mission,” he stated.
Earlier this year, the Syrian Army backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces restored control of the entire south of Syria after a series of successful operations against ISIS and other militant groups there.