UN peacekeepers detained in Golan Heights
Members of al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front armed group captured 43 U.N. peacekeepers in Syria near the country’s border crossing in Golan Heights.
The 43 peacekeepers all are from Fiji. This group of peacekeepers is part of a U.N. operation that has been in the Golan Heights area since 1974. The peacekeepers are tasked to maintain a ceasefire between Syrian and Israeli forces.
According to media reports, the militants are members of the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who are fighting against the Assad regime.
The al-Nusra Front and ISIS are supposedly strong opponents and are said to have been fighting the Assad regime in Syria.
US Condemns Attacks On UN Peacekeepers In The Golan Heights
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the United States strongly condemns the detention of UN peacekeepers and ongoing violence targeting the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights by non-state armed groups.
“We demand the unconditional and immediate release of all UN peacekeepers and again call on all parties to refrain from threatening or endangering UNDOF forces and interfering in their mandated mission.” – Ms. Psaki
In addition, the US reiterated its full support of UNDOF in maintaining the ceasefire in the Golan.
Israel seized control of the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Israelis were successful in countering an attempt by Syria in 1973 to gain back the Golan.
In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights. The rocky plateau is considered to be occupied territory by the international community.