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Nusra Front Demands Removal from UN Terror List

  • VOA News

FILE - A fighter from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Nusra Front.

FILE - A fighter from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Nusra Front.

Fiji's military commander said al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria have made a set of demands they want fulfilled before they release a group of 45 Fijian U.N. peacekeepers.

Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga said Tuesday that the Nusra Front wants to be removed from the U.N.'s list of terror groups, humanitarian aid to be sent to areas around Damascus and compensation for three of its members killed in fighting.

The Nusra Front kidnapped the peacekeepers Thursday in the Golan Heights.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for their release, and said Monday that U.N. agencies are negotiating with armed groups for the peacekeepers' freedom.

Also Monday, Ireland's defense minister said his country needs safety reassurances from the U.N. before it sends more peacekeepers to the Golan Heights next month.

Simon Coveney told Irish broadcaster RTE that the U.N. must provide clarity on the "acceptable level of risk" for a peacekeeping mission before Ireland will send troops again to Golan.

Ireland's troops are due to rotate personnel in October.

Austria, Japan and Croatia already removed forces from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights as the boundaries of Syria's civil war expanded.

Peacekeepers have monitored the demilitarized zone for 40 years.

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