Damascus has rejected Israeli demands for international peacekeeping troops to be deployed along the Syrian border. Jerusalem claims the region is a corridor through which arms are smuggled to Hizbollah, and has rejected calls for dialogue. Syrian officials say Beirut should step in to prevent what they term a “hostile” act. UN Resolution 1701, which established the ceasefire, also demands that Lebanon’s borders be clearly demarcated to solve a dispute over the Shebaa Farms, an Israeli-occupied strip near the border with Lebanon, Israel and the Golan Heights.
Italy has said it is prepared to contribute up to 3,000 troops to the UN force as long as Israel respects the truce. In total, the major European powers are set to provide up to 9,000 for the deployment. The majority have now accepted the force’s mandate, which primarily allows soldiers to return fire only when defending themselves, civilians or UN operations. The UN mandate does not allow its soldiers to participate in the disarming of Hizbollah.