29 August 2014 The United Nations said on Friday that it has received assurances from credible sources that the 44 peacekeepers who were taken from their positions in the Golan yesterday are safe and in good health.
The 44 Fijian peacekeepers from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were detained by armed elements of the opposition amid increased fighting in the area between Syrian Government forces and armed groups.
UNDOF has not yet had direct contact with these peacekeepers, the world body said in a note issued to the media.
The Force has been informed that the intention behind those holding the peacekeepers was to remove them from an active battlefield to a safe area for their own protection, it added.
Meanwhile, the Force has been in regular contact with the 72 Filipino peacekeepers who are confined in two UNDOF positions and can confirm they have not been harmed and are in good health.
“The United Nations is engaging – continues to engage – with a wide range of parties within Syria, and is making every effort to ensure the safety and security of its personnel,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York.
“The UN is also engaging with Member States who may have influence over armed opposition elements to encourage the safe release of the peacekeepers,” he added.
Peacekeepers serving with UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war. As of 31 July 2014, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries – Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, and the Philippines – serving in the Force.
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