Al-Qaeda Fighters in Golan Offer to Trade UN Troops for Humanitarian Aid

Fate of 44 Captured Troops Remains Unclear

Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra has finally issued demands related to the 44 Fijian UN troops they captured late last week in the Syrian Golan Heights, saying they’re willing to free them in return for humanitarian aid to be delivered to one of their remaining territorial possessions, a suburb of Damascus called Ruta.

The Syrian military has mostly expelled Nusra and other rebels from the areas around Damascus, and has conducted protracted sieges on the remaining suburbs to try to force the rebels out of the areas surrounding the capital city.

Nusra captured the Fijian troops on Friday, following their seizing of the Golan crossing between Israel and Syria. The UN has troops in the region to observe a ceasefire that’s been in place since 1974.

In addition to the Fiji troops, Nusra attacked Philippines troops yesterday, though they managed to escape into Israel without being captured. The UN says they remain unsure of the location or the fate of the Fijian troops.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.