World Bulletin / News Desk
U.N. peacekeepers monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights have scaled back patrols after rebels detained 21 Filipino observers for three days last week, diplomats said on Thursday.
The seizure of the unarmed observers highlighted the vulnerability of the 1,000-strong U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), whose mission began in 1974, to the growing violence in Syria.
"They have reduced their patrols for now, halted patrols in areas like the place where the Filipinos were taken hostage," one diplomat in the region said.
Japan said it was withdrawing soldiers from UNDOF three months ago in response to the violence in Syria. Croatia said last month it would also pull out its troops as a precaution after reports, which it denied, that Croatian arms had been shipped to Syrian rebels.
Two weeks ago the United Nations said an UNDOF staff member had gone missing. It did not identify him but one rebel source identified him as a Canadian legal adviser and said he had been captured by another rebel force and held for ransom.Last Mod: 14 Mart 2013, 14:30