Syrian Opposition Detains 20 UN Peacekeepers

They had been monitoring Israel-Syria ceasefire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2013 1:23 PM CST
In this Feb. 26, 2013, photo, Free Syrian Army fighters take their positions as they observe the Syrian army forces' base of Wadi al-Deif, in Idlib province, Syria.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

(Newser) – The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the detention of more than 20 peacekeepers monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria by armed members of the Syrian opposition and demanded their immediate and unconditional release. Russia's UN Ambassador, the council president, says talks are underway between UN officials and the captors. The Golan Heights peacekeepers were detained by approximately 30 armed fighters today.

The UN observers were on a regular supply mission when they were stopped near an observation post that sustained damage and was evacuated last weekend following heavy combat. The rebels, according to a report, accuse the peacekeepers of assisting the Syrian regime in redeploying in an area near the Golan which the fighters had seized a few days ago in battles that led to the death of 11 fighters and 19 regime forces. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the peacekeepers will not be released until regime forces withdraw from a village called Jamla. (Read more United Nations stories.)

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