May 8, 2013
Militants fighting against the Syrian government have abducted a group of UN peacekeepers monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
According to Reuters news agency, a militant group operating in Syria issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was holding the four peacekeepers.
The statement said the peacekeepers were being held for their own safety because of clashes in the separation zone between Syria and the Israeli-occupied heights.
A picture accompanying the statement shows four peacekeepers wearing light-blue UN flak jackets marked “Philippines.”
This is the second time that foreign-backed militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad seize UN troops in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
In March, anti-Syria militants detained 21 Filipino peacekeepers in the same region. They were released after three days.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.