The 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers who were kidnapped by Syrian rebels earlier this week have been handed over to Jordan, official sources in the Hashemite Kingdom said Saturday afternoon.
An initial report said the transfer has been halted as a UN delegation was unable to reach the captives, but soon after Al-Jazeera reported that the UN monitors were transferred to Jordan.
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A Syrian rebel source said a UN convoy sent to retrieve the 21 peacekeepers has been held up after one of its vehicles broke down.
But he said a ceasefire around the village of Jamlah appeared to be holding and the convoy of seven UN vehicles, held up about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Jamlah, would still be able to collect the peacekeepers once it was mobile again.
"The UN convoy has reached the village of Ain Dhakar but has halted there because of technical difficulties," Abu Essam Taseel, from the media office of the Martyrs of Yarmouk brigade, told Reuters by Skype.
UN post in Golan buffer zone (Photo: AP)
Earlier on Saturday, human rights activists said that the handover is being delayed due to the resumption of shelling by Bashar Assad's forces in the Jamlah area. Meanwhile, rebels asked the United Nations secretary general to bring about a limited, unconditional ceasefire that will allow the UN monitors to be released.
On Friday, the UN said that arrangements were made with all parties for the release of the 21 UN peacekeepers held captive by Syrian rebels.
A team of peacekeepers was sent Friday to bring back their colleagues, who are being held in the village of Jamlah near the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, said Josephine Guerrero, a spokeswoman for the UN Peacekeeping Department.
Because of the late hour and darkness "it was considered unsafe to continue the operation" but efforts will resume Saturday, she said.
Reuters contributed to this report
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