UN: 45 Fijian peacekeepers freed in Syria
BEIRUT (AP) — Al-Qaida-linked Syrian militants on Thursday released all 45 Fijian peacekeepers they had held captive for two weeks, bringing an end to a crisis that ensnared the U.N. monitoring force in the chaos of Syria’s civil war.
Fighters from the Nusra Front captured the Fijian troops late last month in the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights, where a 1,200-strong U.N. force patrols the disputed buffer zone between Syria and Israel. The area along the frontier has since been engulfed in heavy clashes between the militants and the Syrian military.
All 45 peacekeepers “are in good condition” and were being taken for a quick medical assessment, a U.N. statement said.
The Fijians were taken hostage the same day that nearly 80 Filipino peacekeepers were trapped by Syrian opposition fighters. The Filipino peacekeepers later escaped.