Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today the release of the 45 United Nations peacekeepers that had been forcibly taken on 28 August 2014 in the Golan and detained by armed elements.
The world body had earlier announced today that the 45 Fijian peacekeepers were released and are in good condition.
The peacekeepers, who serve with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), were detained two weeks ago by armed elements of the opposition in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah amid increased fighting in the area between Syrian Government forces and armed groups.
The UN said in a note issued to the media that the Fijians were handed to UNDOF at 2:30 p.m. local time. All the 45 peacekeepers are in good condition and will undergo medical assessment.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban appreciated the efforts of all concerned to secure their safe release.
“The Secretary-General emphasizes to all parties the impartiality of United Nations peacekeepers. UNDOF is on the ground to monitor the Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria,” said the statement, adding that the UN chief demands that all parties respect UNDOF’s mandate, freedom of movement and the safety and security of its personnel.
Peacekeepers serving with UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war. In June, the Security Council extended the mission’s mandate until 31 December 2014.
As of 31 July 2014, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries – Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, and the Philippines – serving in UNDOF.