U.N. Fiji peacekeepers released on Golan


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The 45 United Nations Fiji peacekeepers who have been held captive by a Syrian rebel group since last month were released.

The peacekeepers, captured on the Golan Heights, were released Thursday at the Quneitra crossing on the Golan on the border with Israel, the United Nations confirmed Thursday afternoon. They then crossed into Israel.

They were captured and held by the Nusra Front, a rebel group linked to al-Qaida.

“All the 45 peacekeepers are in good condition and will proceed back to Camp Foar for medical assessment,” the United Nations said in a statement.

It is not known if the rebel group received any concessions in exchange for the peacekeepers. They had demanded to be removed from the U.N. terrorist list, humanitarian aid to Damascus and compensation for the death of three of its fighters killed by U.N. forces.

Earlier in the day, a 15-minute video showing the peacekeepers was released on Facebook. One of the captives said that they were informed that they would be released soon and that “we are all happy to be going home.” He added that they were treated well by the rebel group.

Recommended from JTA