June 25, 2013
Fiji UN troops to face tough decisions in Golan Heights
Updated Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:09am AEST
A Middle East expert says Fijian peacekeepers deployed to the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria will encounter a "perilous" situation.
About 170 Fijian troops will join the UN's peacekeeping mission in the area, which has become far more volatile during Syria's Civil War.
The Fijians will replace peacekeepers from three countries that have withdrawn because of fierce fighting near the border.
Professor Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs institute, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat the Fijians face potential threats from both sides of the Syrian conflict.
"As Western help for the rebels build, it gives incentives for the regime side to look at these peacekeepers as enemies and to see them as basically people who want to overthrow the regime," Mr Rubin said.
"They're people who just wonder what are these non-Muslims doing here, they want to stop the revolution."
Mr Rubin says the Fijians will encounter problems with Al-Qaeda who make up 15 per cent of the rebels.
"They're lawless and disorganised and kidnapping can be attractive," he said.
"They're going to meet guys with guns and they don't know if they're going to shoot at them.
"They're going to have to do a very delicate mission."