June 7 - President Putin says Russia is ready to replace peacekeepers from Austria in the Golan Heights after Vienna recalls troops from U.N. force. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Israeli fire-fighters are trying to put out fires in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Friday. Authorities say the fires came from sectarian battles near the border with Syria. Amid the tension along the border on Thursday Austria said it would withdraw its UN peacekeepers. Now Russia says it is ready to help. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Given the complicated situation in the Golan Heights, we could replace the leaving Austrian contingent in this region on the border between Israeli troops and the Syrian army. But this will happen, of course, only if the regional powers show interest, and if the U.N. secretary general asks us to do so." Mark Lyall Grant, who serves as the British ambassador to the UN and is the currently Security Council president says it is something under review. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARK LYALL GRANT, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS (U.N.) AND CURRENT U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Well, we have just seen reports that Russia has offered to send troops to UNDOF. It is clear that if there are other significant withdrawals of other troop contributors, then the U.N. will be looking for new troop contributors to come forward and fill that gap and I'm sure that all offers will be carefully considered by the U.N." The violence in the Golan Heights is one of the latest twist in the Syrian conflict -- which has already killed more than 80,000 people.