8 May 2013

More UN peacekeepers abducted

7:33 am on 8 May 2013

Four United Nations peacekeepers have been abducted by armed men while monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Golan Heights.

Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a Syrian rebel group, says it is holding the group for their own safety after clashes and heavy shelling in the Yarmouk Valley.

A UN spokeswoman said the Filipino peacekeepers were abducted on Tuesday while patrolling about 4km from the Jordanian border.

In March, the Martyrs of Yarmouk detained 21 UN observers from the Philippines, before releasing them three days later.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of the Six Day War in 1967 and thwarted a Syrian attempt to retake it in 1973.

Both countries signed an armistice in 1974, after which the UN Disengagement Observer Force was put in place to monitor the zone. Its personnel are from Austria, India, the Philippines, Morocco and Moldova.