Date: Friday, 08-March-2013, 6:45 AM | Message # 1
UN demands release of peacekeepers taken hostage by Syrian rebels
The UN is demanding the immediate release of a group of its peacekeepers taken hostage by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights. The militants say they're using the observers as human shields - and will hold them until Syrian government forces pull back from a nearby village. Beirut-based analyst Kamel Wazne says countries arming the rebels should be held accountable for the hostage crisis.
The Philippines government has called for the immediate release of its 21 UN peacekeepers. The UN personal were taken hostage by a Syrian rebel group called the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade as they patrolled the armistice line that separates Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. Syrian opposition coalition President Moaz al-Khatib said the blue helmets were taken for their own safety. Video statements suggest otherwise with the kidnappers calling on Syria to withdraw its troops from nearby villages. Diplomats from across the globe called on the kidnappers to free the UN staff. One of those being held said they were being well treated and all are safe and well. The UN is currently trying to negotiate their release.