Rogue Syria Rebels Kidnap Golan U.N. Peacekeepers

Security Council Denounces Capture of Troops Near Israel Border

By Reuters

Published March 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Syrian rebels have seized a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers near the Golan Heights and say they will hold them captive until President Bashar al-Assad’s forces pull back from a rebel-held village which has seen heavy recent fighting.

The capture was announced in rebel videos posted on the Internet and confirmed on Wednesday by the United Nations in New York, which said about 20 peacekeepers had been detained.

The seizure is the most direct threat to U.N. personnel in the nearly two-year-old uprising against Assad and Human Rights Watch said it was investigating the same brigade for past executions.

It came on the day that Britain said it would increase aid to the opposition forces and the Arab League gave a green light to member states to arm the rebels.

The regional Arab body also invited the opposition Syrian coalition to take Syria’s seat at a League meeting in Doha later this month. Syria was suspended in November 2011 in response to its crackdown on protests which since spiralled into civil war.

The peacekeepers of the UNDOF mission have been monitoring a ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, captured by the Jewish state in a 1967 war, for nearly four decades.

Israel has warned that it will not “stand idle” as Syria’s civil war spills over into the Golan region.

The United Nations in New York said its peacekeepers had been detained by around 30 fighters in the Golan Heights.

“The U.N. observers were on a regular supply mission and were stopped near Observation Post 58, which had sustained damage and was evacuated this past weekend following heavy combat in close proximity at Al Jamla,” it said, referring to a village which saw fierce confrontations on Sunday.

It did not say the nationality of the observers but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group which is in contact with the rebel brigade said they were Filipino.

In one rebel video, a young man saying he was from the “Martyrs of Yarmouk” brigade stood surrounded by several rebel fighters with assault rifles in front of a two white armoured vehicles and a truck with “UN” markings.

“The command of the Martyrs of Yarmouk…is holding forces of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force until the withdrawal of forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad from the outskirts of the village of Jamla,” the man, who was wearing civilian clothes, said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.