UN observers kidnapped in the Golan near Syria-Israel border20 United Nations Disengagement Observer Force members were kidnapped by Syrian rebel forces about a mile east of Syria's border with Israel in the Golan Heights. The UNDOF has been monitoring the Israel-Syria border since 1974. The rebels are demanding the withdrawal of Bashar al-Assad's forces from the village of Jamla, which is in the same area, within 24 hours. Otherwise, they say they will treat the observers as prisoners.
Let's go to the videotape.
Here's a description of the video.
"The command of the Martyrs of Yarmouk announced that it is holding forces of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force until the withdrawal of forces of the regime of (President) Bashar Assad from the outskirts of the village of Jamla," said the man, wearing civilian clothes.I am so glad Israel can count on the commitments given to it by the United Nations and the 'international community.' It's so encouraging to know that the UN is competent to defend us if we make 'concessions.'
"If no withdrawal is made within 24 hours we will treat them as prisoners," he said, accusing them of collaborating with Assad's forces to push the rebels out of Jamla. UNDOF supervises a 1974 ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel.
The United Nations said about 20 peacekeepers had been detained by around 30 armed fighters in the Golan Heights on the border between Syria and Israel on Wednesday.
"The UN observers were on a regular supply mission and were stopped near Observation Post 58, which had sustained damage and was evacuated this past weekend following heavy combat in close proximity, at Al Jamlah," the United Nations said in a statement issued in New York.
It did not say the nationality of the observers but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group which is in contact with the rebel brigade said they were Filipino.
The United Nations said it has sent a team to resolve the situation, while the 15-member Security Council condemned the incident and demanded the immediate release of the peacekeepers.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the council in an emergency briefing that the fighters who had detained the peacekeepers were "associated with Syrian armed opposition group elements," said Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who is president of the council in March.
He added that the captors have made "some demands associated with the actual situation on the ground in Syria." He gave no further detail