United Nations Begins Talks With Syrian Rebels to Free Peacekeepers

by Colonel on March 7, 2013

United Nations officials were negotiating Thursday with Syrian rebels who were holding a group of United Nations troops they had seized in the disputed Golan Heights region between Syria and Israel, as the rebels offered assurances of the Filipino peacekeepers’ well-being and appeared to back away from their threats to hold them as hostages.

The authorities in Manila said the troops had not been harmed, and President Benigno S. Aquino III said he believed the peacekeepers would be viewed by both sides in the Syrian conflict as a “benign presence, so we don’t expect any further untoward incident to happen.”

The 21 troops seized Wednesday are part of a United Nations force that was set up to patrol the demilitarized zone along Syria’s Golan frontier after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

” — Alan Cowell and Hania Mourtada, Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

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