Thursday, 23rd October 2014

Syria rebels besiege UN position near Golan Heights


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UN peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, also known as UNDOF, observe Syria's Quneitra province at an observation point on Mount Bental in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, overlooking the border with Syria, Friday, August 29, 2014. An armed group detained more than 40 UN peacekeepers during fighting in Syria early Thursday and over 80 peacekeepers are trapped, the United Nations said. The peacekeepers were detained on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during a Armed militant groups on Saturday besieged a position of the UN peacekeepers in Syria's southern province of Qunaitera, bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported.

Armed fighters of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front besieged a headquarter of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) at the town of Ruwayhinah in the countryside of Qunaitera, the report said.

It added that Filipinos peacekeepers in the besieged position clashed with the Nusra fighters.

Other reports said that one of the two Filipino peacekeepers' groups managed to flee to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights while the other group is still struck in the UN position in Qunaitera under the Nusra attack.

A Swedish member of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) stands on Friday, August 29, 2014 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and uses a binocular to watch the Syrian side of the Golan after rebel fighters took over the control of the Quneitra border crossing. Syrian rebels surrounded dozens of defiant Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Friday and demanded they give up their weapons, hours after taking 43 Fijian soldiers hostage, authorities said. Syrian rebels, including fighters from the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, stormed a Golan Heights crossing at Quneitra on August 27, sparking an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.  (AFP/Jack Guez)The radical militant groups on Thursday kidnapped 44 UN peacekeepers after seizing control over several areas in Qunaitera.

Since then, the Syrian troops have unleashed a counter- offensive to recapture the lost positions in Qunaitera.

UN officials declared that the kidnapped UN personnel were " safe and in good health" even though the "UNDOF has not yet had direct contact with these (kidnapped) peacekeepers."

Twenty-five Philippine peacekeepers serving with the UNDOF were detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013. They were released safely shortly afterward.

Peacekeepers serving with the UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after the 1973 war. As of July 31, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries, including Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, the Netherlands and the Philippines, serving in the force.

In June, the UN Security Council extended UNDOF's mandate for another six months until Dec. 31, 2014.  DAMASCUS, August 30 (Xinhua)

'ALL NA PERSONNEL IN SYRIA ARE SAFE'

Nepal Army (NA) says all NA personnel deployed in Syria under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) are safe.

155 NA personnel are deployed under the UN mission, the Nepal Army Public Relations Directorate (DPR) said Friday.

Syrian rebels had been 'active' on Thursday at Al Queintra, which is south of the Golan Heights, and NA personnel are deployed in an area some 80 km from the region, DPR said, adding that the NA had been in contact with the Nepali contingent in Syria after the incident and had been assured of their safety.

On a separate context, the Directorate said NA personnel had carried out another controlled blast to unblock the Sunkoshi River on Friday.

Likewise, construction work on a temporary track to reconnect the Araniko Highway has completed, DPR said. KATHMANDU, Aug 29 (RSS)


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