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U.N. observers march out of Syria into Israel

(JTA) — A number of U.N. truce observers abandoned their posts on the Golan Heights and crossed the border into Israel.

Ynet reported that the observers, who serve in the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force, which is deployed in the buffer zone that runs along the border between Syria and Israel, said they had been ordered by their commanders to clear out of the area.

Israel’s Arny Radio reported that eight observers left their posts.

On Wednesday, Syrian rebels abducted 21 U.N. observers from the Philippines near the Syrian village of Jamlah, less than a mile from the border with Israel.

A spokesperson for the government of the Philippines said the rebels have pledged to hold the observers captive as long as the troops of Syrian President Bashar Assad are deployed near Jamla. 

The observers who crossed into Israel signalled their intention to approach the fence and starting marching in that direction, Army Radio reported. Troops directed them to an opening and brought them in for transfer to the U.N.’s Ein Zivanit compound. 

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