45 peacekeepers held by Syrian rebels to be release
Updated: 2014-09-10 08:55
A UN peacekeeper from Fiji is seen through a bus window in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, before crossing into Syria in this August 31, 2014 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]
SUVA - The head of Fiji's army said on Wednesday that he expected 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers seized two weeks ago on the Golan Heights by an al Qaeda-backed militant group, the Nusra Front, to be released within days.
"Al Nusra has confirmed to the UN headquarters in New York that the Fijian peacekeepers will be released within the next few days," Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga told a media conference in the Fijian capital, Suva.
Syria's three-year civil war reached the frontier with Israeli-controlled territory last month when Islamist fighters overran a crossing point in the line that has separated Israelis from Syrians in the Golan Heights since a 1973 war.
The fighters then turned on the UN blue helmets from a peacekeeping force that has patrolled the ceasefire line for 40 years. After the Fijians were captured, more than 70 Filipinos spent two days besieged at two locations before reaching safety.
Since independence from Britain in 1970, Fiji has sent more soldiers on UN peacekeeping missions than any other nation, on a per capita basis.