43 UN peacekeepers seized in Syrian Golan Heights

Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in armoured vehicles cross from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights into Syrian-controlled territory on August 28, 2014Syrian armed groups, some of whom are linked to Al-Qaeda, captured 43 UN peacekeepers on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Thursday and surrounded 81 others, the UN said. The 43 peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage near the Quneitra crossing, but 81 Filipino blue helmets “held their ground” and refused to disarm, the Filipino defense department said. “This resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation at this time, as UN officials try to peacefully resolve the situation,” said the statement from Manila. Fiji army chief Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said the captured peacekeepers were all safe, and asked people in the Pacific nation to pray that they are released unharmed.

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