Truckloads of Syrian civilian refugees began moving into the United Nations buffer zone on the Golan Heights on Monday (24 June), 24 hours before it was due to be handed over to Syrian civilian administrators by the U.
GV Refugees in cars with belongings on roof
TRACKING SHOUT refugees in coaches
GV Child in coach waving flag
SV Refugees looking through coach windows (2 shots)
GV Refugees dancing
GV Coaches drive along road to Hadar
GV PAN refugee children playing in rubble area
CU Refugee child
SV Refugee women (2 shots)
GV Syrian flag and banner in Arabic at entrance
GV People gathered in city
GV People dancing and waving flag
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Background: Truckloads of Syrian civilian refugees began moving into the United Nations buffer zone on the Golan Heights on Monday (24 June), 24 hours before it was due to be handed over to Syrian civilian administrators by the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
The refugees, carrying flags with their belongings, were transported into the zone by a convoy of buses and trucks. A U.N. spokesman, Mr. Rudolf Stajduhar, said that the zone, which had formerly been held by the Israelis, was due to be handed over officially on Tuesday evening. He had spotted the half-mile (1 km.) convoy as he was driving from the UNDOF forward headquarters on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Stajduhar said that the Israeli forces were expected to hand over the town of Kuneitra in the central area, Rafid Junction in the South, and the three peaks on Mount Hermon in the North to UNDOF at mid-day Tuesday. The Observer Force would then complete the separation by Tuesday evening.
On Sunday, the Observer Force had handed over a Syrian military cemetery near the village of Khan Arnabeh, approximately five miles (8 km.) north-east of Kuneitra, where several hundred Syrian soldiers who died during the October War had been buried.
Mr. Stajduhar said that the Observer Force had made two inspection tours on both sides of the buffer zone during the past few days, and the final inspection would take place on Tuesday.
Many of the refugees who moved back on Monday, lived in the village of Hadar on the slopes of Mount Hermon. When the convoy arrived at the village, there were emotional scenes as the villagers celebrated their return home.