During a period of increased fighting beginning yesterday between armed elements and Syrian Arab Armed Forces within the area of separation in the Golan Heights, 43 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were detained early this morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah. In addition, another 81 UNDOF peacekeepers are currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah. The United Nations is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers, and to restore the full freedom of movement of the Force throughout its area of operation.
UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013 and were released safely.
Peacekeepers serving with UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war. In June, the Security Council extended the mission's mandate for another six months, until 31 December 2014.
As of 31 July 2014, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries serving in UNDOF (Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines).
We will share more information as it becomes available.