The United Nations says 43 of its peacekeepers have been detained by “armed elements” fighting in the Golan Heights, the Associated Press reports.
An additional 81 UN soldiers are “currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah,” according to the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The “armed elements” in Syria consist almost exclusively of jihadist groups, most notably ISIS and al-Nusra. ISIS was trained by the United States and al-Nusra was armed by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
On Wednesday ISIS and al-Nusra took control of the Quneitra crossing point at the demarcation line on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The action puts the al-Qaeda inspired groups within 200 yards of territory captured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.
DEBKAfile, an Israeli intelligence asset, reports the ISIS and al-Nusra effort to wrest control of the border area away from the Syrian army was assisted by by Israel, Jordan and the United States:
Israel acted as a member, along with the US and Jordan, of a support system for rebel groups [ISIS, al-Nusra] fighting in southern Syria. Their efforts are coordinated through a war-room which the Pentagon established last year near Amman. The US, Jordanian and Israeli officers manning the facility determine in consultation which rebel factions are provided with reinforcements from the special training camps run for Syrian rebels in Jordan, and which will receive arms.
In December, it was reported by The National that a secret command center in Jordan, staffed by western and Arab military officials, provides support to jihadist groups fighting on Syria’s southern front. The intelligence center “channels vehicles, sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, small arms and ammunition to Free Syrian Army units.”
Large numbers of fighters from the Free Syrian Army have defected to al-Nusra over the last year. “Fighters are heading to al-Nusra because of its Islamic doctrine, sincerity, good funding and advanced weapons,” Abu Islam of the FSA’s al-Tawhid brigade in Aleppo told The Guardian in May, 2013.
In June, al-Nusra and ISIS joined forces.
The same month Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily reported U.S. instructors had trained members of ISIS in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.