News / Middle East

UN Demands Unconditional Release of Golan Peacekeepers

An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on March 6, 2013 allegedly shows armed fighters standing in front of a United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) vehicle in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel. An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on March 6, 2013 allegedly shows armed fighters standing in front of a United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) vehicle in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.
x
An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on March 6, 2013 allegedly shows armed fighters standing in front of a United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) vehicle in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.
An image taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on March 6, 2013 allegedly shows armed fighters standing in front of a United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) vehicle in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.
Margaret Besheer
The U.N. Security Council is demanding the unconditional release of more than 20 peacekeepers stopped and detained by armed elements of the Syrian opposition in the Golan Heights. 

x
The United Nations says a group of peacekeepers from its Disengagement Observer Force, known as UNDOF, in the area of separation between Israel and Syria, was seized by a group of some 30 armed fighters Wednesday.

A U.N. spokesman said the unarmed peacekeepers were on a regular supply mission when they were stopped near an observation post which had sustained damage and was evacuated a few days ago, following heavy fighting in the nearby town of Al Jamlah.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation Security Council this month, read a statement to reporters condemning the detention of the U.N. observers and demanding their release.

“The members of the Security Council demanded the unconditional and immediate release of all the detained U.N. peacekeepers and called upon all parties to cooperate with UNDOF in good faith to enable it to operate freely and to ensure full security of its personnel,” he said.

Ambassador Churkin said his understanding of the situation is that no fighting took place between the U.N. observers and their captors, but that the armed men took over the UNDOF vehicles.

U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Hervé Ladsous told reporters that it is a “very serious incident” which is “ongoing” and has mobilized all of the U.N.’s teams.  Without going into detail, he said negotiations are going on.

He said the incident occurred in the very south of UNDOF’s area of operations.

The United Nations has not said what nationalities the peacekeepers are, but troops from Austria, Croatia, India and the Philippines are part of the observer force.

There are just over 1,000 U.N. troops in the Golan Heights, where the U.N. has monitored a cease-fire between Israel and Syria since 1974.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid