News / Middle East

    Peacekeepers Rescued in Golan Heights Fight

    Smoke rises following an explosion on the Syrian side near the Quneitra border crossing, Aug. 29, 2014.
    Smoke rises following an explosion on the Syrian side near the Quneitra border crossing, Aug. 29, 2014.
    VOA News

    Thirty-two United Nations peacekeepers have been rescued after heavy fighting in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    The U.N. said Saturday that 40 of its soldiers remain under fire near the Syria-Israel border.

    A gunfight erupted between Philippine peacekeepers and Syrian rebels in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    Philippine Defense Chief Voltaire Gazmin said the militants attacked one of the two camps Saturday manned by the peacekeepers. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

    Earlier in the week, the insurgents attacked another Golan Heights camp seizing 44 Fijian peacekeepers from their post in the same region along the Syria-Israel border.

    The United Nations has called for the release of the Fijian peacekeepers.

    The international organization said Friday it has received assurances from credible sources that the Fijian peacekeepers are "safe and in good health" and that "the intention behind those holding the peacekeepers was to remove them from an active battlefield."

    The name of the group holding the soldiers has not been released.

    Earlier media reports indicated involvement by the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front.

    Both groups of peacekeepers were serving on the U.N.'s Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights.

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