Battles in Northern Syria: Rebels Capture UN Monitors

Rebels: Monitors Caught 'For Their Own Protection'

by Jason Ditz, May 15, 2012

Massive fighting has broken out in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Syria, with both sides claiming the other responsible for starting a battle that left at least 21 people dead and a number of others wounded. Four UN monitor were also captured.

The monitors were with Syrian forces when fighting broke out at the site of a funeral. Rebels say that the troops attacked a funeral procession, but the military insists that they were attacked first. One of the vehicles the monitors was riding in was destroyed in the fighting, and troops with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) made off with the monitors.

Reuters contacted the FSA regarding the monitors, and spoke with one on the phone. When asked if he was being held prisoner, he didn’t reply, but another person insisted that they were “safe with the Free Army.”

FSA spokesmen have since said that they are working on a way to escort the captured monitors out of the country, saying that permitting them to leave FSA custody was out of the question because “the regime will terminate them because they have witnessed one of its crimes.”

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