Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic announced that his country will withdraw its troops from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, which separates between the Israeli and Syrian armies in the Golan Heights. He denies that this is the result of Croatia selling weapons to anti government fighters in Syria.”
Planeloads of Weapons
The report on the weapons deal was undeniable; even the conservative New York Times said that this had been confirmed by “Western Officials;” it is safe to assume it referred to NATO. The decision to take out the 100 Croatian soldiers from the force came after that on February 25, the same newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia had underwritten a large purchase of infantry arms in Croatia. “According to United States and Western officials, in December arms left over from the Balkan wars of the 1990s began to reach rebels battling the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, via Jordan. Since then, officials said, several planeloads of weapons have left Croatia. Yugoslav weapons previously unseen in the conflict, including recoilless guns, assault rifles and machine guns, began to appear in videos posted by Syrian rebels on YouTube,” NYT reported.
The Croatian president claimed in his withdrawal announcement that the NYT report had made impossible for his troops to stay safely in the Golan Heights. Until recently, Croatia had been a traditional ally of Damascus.