Fighters from the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade have captured four UN soldiers in the Golan Heights today, the second time in around two months that the faction has kidnapped UN monitors along the Israel-Syria frontier.
A spokesman for the brigade says that “at least three” of the four are from the Philippines, and insists they are being held “for their own safety,” a claim similar to that made last time they kidnapped UN forces.
The last group’s release required several days of intense negotiations, and this time the spokesman is claiming the UN is “shielding” Assad troops after a fight in the Golan Heights, which may further complicate matters.
The UN force in southern Syria has seen several nations bailing on the mission in recent months, and the Philippines is now responsible for the bulk of the force. The latest kidnapping underscores just how dangerous the mission has become in the midst of a civil war, however, and may force a rethink or even an outright withdrawal.