An armed group on Tuesday abducted four UN peacekeepers from the Philippines in the Golan Heights, which has been hit by a mounting spillover from the Syrian civil war, the United Nations said.
“The four were patrolling near the Al Jamlah locality in the ceasefire zone between Israel and Syria where 21 Filipino peacekeepers were seized by Syrian rebels in March,” said a UN peacekeeping spokeswoman, Josephine Guerrero.
“An unknown armed group” took the men, Guerrero told Agence France Presse. “Efforts are underway to secure their release.”
The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has been in the Golan Heights since 1974, has about 1,000 troops and civilian staff.
The 917 troops are from Austria, India, the Philippines, Morocco and Moldova.
The UNDOF peacekeepers said in March it had “observed and reported instances of continued trans-border movements of unidentified individuals, some of them armed” between Lebanon and Syria in the northern part of the ceasefire zone.”
“Since the beginning of January, the number and the frequency of such activities have increased,” US Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in previous report he submitted to the Security Council.
The Zionist entity, which is technically at war with Syria, has occupied 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community.
Media reports frequently talk about field hospitals built by Zionist authorities in the Occupied Golan to treat the injured of the opposition militant groups fighting against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the Syrian government accuses foreign actors of orchestrating the conflict, by supporting the militant opposition groups with arms and money.