Syria: Clashes erupt in area where UN troops held
BEIRUT (AP) – Clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces erupted Saturday near a village where UN peacekeepers are being held hostage, an activist said, possibly complicating efforts to free them.
UN officials said arrangements are in place for the release of the UN peacekeepers, but that a rescue mission on Friday was aborted because of regime shelling in the area. Rescue efforts were to resume on Saturday, officials said.
The UN force has been monitoring an Israeli-Syrian ceasefire for four decades without incident, and their abduction added another destabilising twist to Syria’s civil war.
The Filipino peacekeepers, who were taken on Wednesday, are being held in the basements of several houses in the village of Jamlah, near the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, UN officials said.
The peacekeepers were taken by a rebel group calling itself the Martyrs of the Yarmouk Brigades. In the days leading up to the abduction, rebel fighters had overrun several Syrian military checkpoints in the area, and regime forces responded with shelling attacks.