UN seeks help to free peacekeepers abducted in Syrian Golan - Israel News, Ynetnews
 
ynetnews
web


   Israel News

Israel News
World News
Israel Opinion
Jewish
Israel Business
Israel Culture
Israel Travel
Abducted Force

UN peacekeepers on Golan Heights (Photo: AFP)
UN peacekeepers on Golan Heights (Photo: AFP) 
 
Abducted Fijian UN force
Abducted Fijian UN force 
 
UN vehicle flying al-Qaeda flag
UN vehicle flying al-Qaeda flag 
 
 

UN seeks help to free peacekeepers abducted in Syrian Golan

Security Council statement urges 'countries with influence' to pressure al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels to release Fijian forces captured on Heights.

Associated Press
Published: 09.03.14, 22:35 / Israel News

The UN Security Council called Wednesday on "countries with influence" to press al-Qaeda-linked insurgents to release 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji abducted last week in the Golan Heights.

 

 

A press statement approved by all 15 council members after a briefing by UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous again demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the Fijian peacekeepers.

 

Heavy clashes have raged in the Golan Heights since Syrian rebels captured a border crossing between Syria and Israel near the abandoned town of Quneitra last Wednesday. Fighters from al-Qaeda's Syria branch, the Nusra Front, abducted the Fijian peacekeepers and surrounded two Filipino contingents serving in the UN force known as UNDOF the following day.

 

UN peacekeepers on Golan Heights (Photo: AFP)
UN peacekeepers on Golan Heights (Photo: AFP)

 

The Security Council welcomed the news that all the Filipinos were safe and commended the UN peacekeeping mission's quick reaction force for its assistance.

 

Ladsous told reporters the peacekeepers have shown "steadfastness and courage" and said the UN is working to obtain the immediate, safe and unconditional release of the Fijians.

 

"We are sparing no effort to obtain the release of the detained peacekeepers," he said, but gave no details stressing the importance of "discretion."

 

Abducted Fijian UN force
Abducted Fijian UN force

 

UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, said the Nusra Front has made a series of demands, including being taken off the UN blacklist of terrorist organizations subject to sanctions.

 

The Nusra Front accused the UN of doing nothing to help the Syrian people since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011. It said the Fijians were seized in retaliation for the UN's ignoring "the daily shedding of the Muslims' blood in Syria" and even colluding with Assad's army "to facilitate its movement to strike the vulnerable Muslims" through a buffer zone in the Golan Heights.

 

UN vehicle flying al-Qaeda flag
UN vehicle flying al-Qaeda flag

 

UNDOF was established in May 1974 following intensified firing on the Israel-Syria border after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, and Syria has campaigned for decades for return of the land.

 

For nearly four decades, the UN monitors helped enforce a stable truce between Israel and Syria but the Golan Heights has increasingly become a battlefield in the more than three-year-old Syrian conflict.

 

The council demanded that all groups abandon areas controlled by UNDOF and the Queneitra crossing, and return all vehicles, weapons and equipment belonging to the peacekeepers.

 

Ladsous said UNDOF has been strengthened with armored equipment and other military hardware.

 

The council commended the peacekeepers for their bravery in facing the threats and challenges in the volatile area and reiterated its "unconditional support for UNDOF and the vital role it plays in support of the stability in the Golan Heights."

 

commentcomment   PrintPrint  Send to friendSend to friend   
Tag with Del.icio.us Bookmark to del.icio.us



 
1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks
Please wait for the talkbacks to load

 

RSS RSS | About | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of use | Advertise with us | Site Map

Site developed by  YIT Advanced Technology Solutions