Syrian rebels make demands for release of Golan U.N. peacekeepers


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian rebels have issued a list of demands for the release of U.N. peacekeepers stationed on the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.

The 45 Fijian troops from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force  have been held captive for five days in an unknown location.

The rebels from the Nusra Front, which has ties to al-Qaida, have demanded to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list; humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus; and compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed by U.N. officers during a shootout, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The U.N. reportedly has sent hostage negotiators to Syria.

Two units of Filipino peacekeepers escaped from the rebels after their positions in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria were surrounded.

Ireland said Monday that it may not replace its 130 troops in the Golan Heights next month because of security issues. The replacement troops will not be sent, Irish Defense Minister Simon Coveney said in an interview on national television,  without “a full review and we have to get assurances about how the mission will change to adapt to the new realities,”  Reuters reported.


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