The United Nations says its peacekeepers in the Golan were attacked by armed elements yesterday (30 August), as efforts continue to achieve the safe release of 44 blue helmets detained on Thursday.
There were no reported casualties among personnel from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) from the incidents, the world body said in a note issued to the media.
The attacks drew strong condemnation from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who demanded the “unconditional and immediate” release of all the detained UN peacekeepers, and the Security Council, which insisted in a press statement that UNDOF's mandate, impartiality, operations, safety, and security must be respected.
According to the mission, its Force Reaction Group was deployed to UN Position 69, which was fired on by armed elements. All 32 Filipino UN personnel from this position have been extricated and are now safe. There are still another 40 Filipino UN personnel at a different position whose movements remain restricted.
Armed elements also attacked UN Position 68 with mortar and heavy machine gun fire. The UN peacekeepers returned fire and prevented the attackers from entering the position. Personnel were prevented from moving out as firing continued.
UNDOF has also withdrawn personnel from one of its observation posts as a precautionary measure after firing in the vicinity.
The UN added that it is still working towards the safe release of the 44 Fijian peacekeepers who were detained by armed elements of the opposition on Thursday amid increased fighting in the area between Syrian Government forces and armed groups.