News / Middle East

UN Expects to Free Hostages in Syria Saturday

Armored car drives through gate of U.N. base near Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria, Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, March 8, 2013.
Armored car drives through gate of U.N. base near Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria, Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, March 8, 2013.
VOA News
U.N. officials say they have completed arrangements for the release of 21 Philippine peacekeepers held in the Golan Heights by Syrian rebels, and the handover is expected to take place Saturday.
 
A U.N. convoy tried to pick up the peacekeepers late Friday, but was forced to turn back by shelling and airstrikes carried out by Syrian government forces. Subsequently, U.N. officials said, "arrangements were made with all parties" for the hostages' release, "but due to the late hour ... it was considered unsafe to continue the operation."
 
U.N. authorities said they hope to complete the rescue mission and reach the Philippine peacekeeping troops on Saturday.
 
The initial attempt to retrieve the hostages Friday ended when U.N. vehicles had to retreat under fire after reaching Jamla village, where the hostages have been held.
 
U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous briefed Security Council members in New York Friday and confirmed to reporters that Syrian forces shelled and bombed Jamla.
 
Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari, also in New York, refuted claims that troops are bombing Jamla, telling reporters they are targeting the suburbs of the villages where armed groups are concentrated.
 
The peacekeepers from the Philippines are part of a 1,000-plus force that patrols a zone between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights. They were detained Wednesday by Syrian rebels who have identified themselves as the Martyrs of Yarmouk.
 
U.N. officials have been negotiating their release with rebel commanders, who are demanding that Syrian government troops leave the area. President Bashar al-Assad has not commented on the incident.
 
Video posted online by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights shows some of the Philippine peacekeepers. One peacekeeper, who identified himself as the captain, said he and his men were safe.
 
The observatory says the rebel group is fighting for villages in the area and has been operating independently.
 
Both the U.N. and the Philippines have strongly condemned the seizure.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center, AMC, shows anti-Syrian regime protesters in Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, March 8, 2013.
  • A United Nations armored car drives through a gate at a U.N. base near the Kuneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria, in the Golan Heights, March 8, 2013.
  • A member of the Free Syrian Army fires his weapon in Deir al-Zor, Syria, March 7, 2013.
  • A father and son cook kebabs for residents in the city of Deir Ezzor on March 4, 2013. Once a thriving hub of Syria's oil industry, Deir Ezzor is now a ghost town of only a few thousand people.
  • A statue of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's father, Hafez Al-Assad, is pulled down as people celebrate in Raqqa, March 4, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter stands atop an armored personnel carrier captured from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, March 4, 2013.
  • Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad applaud after being briefed in preparation for an offensive in the northern city of Aleppo, March 4, 2013.
  • A rebel aims his weapon during clashes with government forces near Aleppo international airport, Syria, March 4, 2013.
  • Sandbags are piled at the ancient Castle of Homs, March 4, 2013.
  • A member of the Popular Protection Units stands guard at a check point near Qamishli, Syria, March 3, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters pose next to bodies in Homs, March 3, 2013.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid