Around 75 Filipino and 44 Fijian peacekeepers from two different UN posts were taken hostage by the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front. The Filipino UN post came under attack on Saturday.
The al-Nusra Front rebels claim that the peacekeeping force was protecting Israeli-controlled territory but it did not lay a finger to stop Syrian killings during the civil war just being across Golan Heights. The al-Nusra Front released a photograph of the captured peacekeepers online. Photographs of identification cards were also shown.
The al-Nusra Front statement indicated that the peacekeepers were treated well and given food and medical care. However, the group had not yet issued their demands to release the peacekeepers.
A group of 32 Filipino peacekeepers managed to retreat effectively to the Israeli side with the help of the UN’s “reaction force.”
Meanwhile, it is possible that the Fiji peacekeeper captors are not from the al-Nusra Front.
The Syrian civil war had killed more than 200,000 people in the last three years. The rebel group accused the UN of inefficiency especially after its promise of retaliation against the Syrian government, accusing the former of instigating chemical attacks that claimed the lives of many civilians, including women and children.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is accused of war crimes, as evidence from a defector showed. However, its compliance with destroying its stockpile of chemical weapons is a weak guarantee that it did not use the chemical weapons.