Militants take hostate 44 peacekeepers in Golan

United Nations: At least 44 peacekeepers have been taken hostage by the militnts in the Golan Heights, a UN spokesperson said Friday.

“The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) reported that 44 Fijian troops were detained and 72 Filipino troops still stranded in the region,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily briefing.

Support TwoCircles

“The United Nations continues to engage with a wide range of parties within Syria, and is making every effort to ensure the safety and security of its personnel,” he said.

The UN is also engaging with member states who may have influence over armed opposition elements to encourage the safe release of the peacekeepers, he said.

UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013 and were released safely.

Peacekeepers serving with the UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.

In June, the Security Council extended the mission’s mandate for another six months, until Dec 31, 2014.

As of July 31, 2014, there were 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries–Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and Philippines — serving in the UN agency.