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!
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • 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.