U.N. says Austria Golan withdrawal will affect operations

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The withdrawal of Austrian troops from the U.N. monitoring force on the Golan Heights will affect the operational capacity of the mission observing a decades-old ceasefire between Syria and Israel, a U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman said on Thursday.

"Austria has been a backbone of the mission and their withdrawal will impact the mission's operational capacity," said U.N. spokeswoman Josephine Guerrero. "We are in discussions with them about timing, and with other troop-contributing countries to provide replacement troops."

Austrians account for about 380 of the 1,000-strong U.N. force.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Vicki Allen)