NEW YORK CITY — More than 40 peacekeepers were detained by an armed group Thursday along the area of separation between Syria and Israel-occupied Golan Heights, the United Nations confirmed, saying it was making every effort to secure the release of those detained.
The 43 peacekeepers were detained early on Thursday near the abandoned city of Quneitra in the Golan Heights after clashes erupted on Wednesday within the area of separation between armed groups and the Syrian army. In addition to those captured, another 81 peacekeepers are currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah.
"The United Nations is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers, and to restore the full freedom of movement of the Force throughout its area of operation," the UN said in an e-mailed statement. The nationalities of those detained was not immediately known.
As of July 31, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, the Netherlands, and the Philippines serving in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed groups in March and May 2013 but were later released unharmed.