Syrian rebels have seized a group of UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights as the team were monitoring a ceasefire between Syria and Israel.
Footage uploaded to the internet by the rebels shows a group of about 20 UN workers.
The militants, calling themselves the ‘Martyrs of Yarmouk’ say the UN workers will be held hostage until Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces withdrew from the nearby village of Jamla.
Another UN team is being sent to assess the situation.
Asking perhaps more influential figures to speak to the rebels UN Security Council president Vitaly Churkin said: “Speaking in my national capacity (i.e. Russian), there are those who have much more direct bearing on armed opposition groups (such as) the Arab league, and they should immediately tell them (the rebels), as the security council members have done, that they should stop this very dangerous course of action.”
Mindful of the unrest in Syria spilling into neighbouring countries, the UN workers had been in the Golan Heights – a disputed region occupied by Israel since it was seized from Syria in the1967 Six Day War.
The main rebel fighters, the Free Syrian Army, have condemned the hostage-taking.
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