Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Police arrest S. Korea ferry captain for negligence

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

Middle east

Video shows UN workers held by Syrian rebels

© AFP

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2013-03-08

A Syrian rebel group has released video footage of some of the 21 UN peacekeepers taken captive Wednesday near the Israeli-Syrian border. The men, all Philippine nationals, say they are being treated well.

New videos were released late Thursday of UN peacekeepers being held captive by an armed Syrian group, with a rebel spokesman saying they would not be freed until regime troops withdrew from the area.

The peacekeepers are part of a UN mission that has been patrolling a ceasefire line between Israel and Syria without incident for nearly four decades.

A rebel group calling itself the Martyrs of the Yarmouk Brigades seized the 21 Philippine nationals Wednesday at the Syrian village of Jamlah near the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

The UN force was on a resupply mission when their four-vehicle convoy was held up by the rebels.

The men in the videos said they were being held by the Free Syrian Army and treated well, but could not be released “because the government of [President Bashar] Assad will not stop the bombing”.

“To our family, we hope to see you soon and we are OK here,” said one peacekeeper, shown in uniform and wearing a blue bulletproof vest emblazoned with “UN” and “Philippines”.

Human shields

Negotiations are under way to get the hostages released, while a rebel spokesman hinted to the AP news agency that the men were being used as human shields against bombing raids by the Damascus regime.

If the UN soldiers were released, the regime could kill “as many as 1,000 people”, the spokesman said.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the rebels were demanding that the regime withdraw from the area, end shelling attacks and allow refugees to return.

The UN mission, known as UNDOF, was created in 1974. Since then it has been successfully enforcing a truce between Israel and Syria in the disputed Golan Heights.

The force has an office in Damascus and staffs observation posts along the armistice line. The peacekeepers shuttle between Damascus and the outposts to deliver supplies and rotate crews.

 

Date created : 2013-03-08

  • SYRIA

    Taking UN troops ‘counter-productive’ for Syrian rebels

    Read more

  • SYRIA - UN

    Syrian rebel group seizes 21 UN peacekeepers

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Arab League support for arming Syrian rebels 'logical'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)