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Putin offers to send Russian peacekeepers to Golan Heights

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Putin offers to send Russian peacekeepers to Golan Heights

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Vladimir Putin has offered to send Russian troops to replace Austrian peacekeepers who are leaving their monitoring mission on the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.

Bush fires could be seen following fighting on Thursday between rebels and Syrian government forces around a border crossing.

The Israeli army remains on alert and has sent tanks and troop reinforcements.

Now the Russian president, Syria’s ally, is proposing a more proactive role for his country.

“In view of the difficult situation in the Golan Heights, we can replace the Austrian contingent which is leaving the region on the border between the Israelis and the Syrian army,” Vladimir Putin said.

On Thursday President al-Assad’s forces retook a control point in the Quneitra area from rebels who had seized it for a few hours.

Israel says it regrets Austria’s decision to pull its peacekeepers out. Vienna said it was no longer possible to keep them in the region due to the worsening fighting.

The withdrawal of the 378 troops is expected to take two to four weeks.