Rebel: UN convoy to retrieve Golan peacekeepers delayed

March 9, 2013 14:20
1 minute read.

BEIRUT - A UN convoy sent to retrieve 21 Filipino peacekeepers captured by rebels in a southern Syrian village three days ago has been held up after one of its vehicles broke down, a Syrian rebel source said on Saturday.

But he said a ceasefire around the village of Jamla appeared to be holding and the convoy of seven UN vehicles, held up about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Jamla, would still be able to collect the peacekeepers once it was mobile again.

"The UN convoy has reached the village of Ain Dhakar but has halted there because of technical difficulties," Abu Essam Taseel, from the media office of the Martyrs of Yarmouk brigade, told Reuters by Skype.

The peacekeepers - part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) that has been monitoring a ceasefire line between Syria and Israel in the Golan Heights since 1974 - were seized by the Martyrs of Yarmouk rebel brigade on Wednesday.

They have been held in Jamla, a village one mile (1.6 km) from the Israeli Golan. After their capture, insurgents described them as "guests" and said they would be freed once President Bashar Assad's forces pull back from around Jamla and stop shelling.

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