UN Abandons Golan Post After Kidnappings

Rebels Insist Seized Troops Are 'Free to Go'

by Jason Ditz, May 08, 2013

A spokesman for the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), in charge of monitoring the 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria, has announced that their troops have moved out of an observation post in the ceasefire zone after yesterday’s kidnappings.

Yesterday’s incident saw the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a Syrian rebel faction, kidnapping four UNDOF troops “for their own safety.” The group claims the four are free to leave at any time, but it does not appear that they have actually been released yet.

The same rebel faction had kidnapped 21 UNDOF troops in early March, and accused the latest troops of “shielding” government forces after a battle over control of a Golan village.

Most of the contributing nations have already abandoned the UNDOF, with the Philippines sure to rethink it after a second round of kidnappings as well. Though the fighting in southern Syria now is surely rebels vs. Syrian government forces, recent Israeli air strikes suggest that the ceasefire between those nations is in serious jeopardy as well.

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