Video of Syrians With Seized U.N. Vehicle in Golan Heights
Via the NYT:
As my colleagues Rick Gladstone and Alan Cowell report, 30 armed rebel fighters kidnapped a group of 20 United Nations peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Wednesday and gave a 24-hour deadline before they would treat the peacekeepers “as prisoners of war.”
The abduction was announced in two video messages posted online by a group calling itself the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade that showed two young-looking rebels, one carrying a rifle, standing in front of captured United Nations vehicles. The videos did not clearly show any of the abducted United Nations personnel, although two figures seated in the cab of one of the captured vehicles may have been peacekeepers.
One of the videos posted on YouTube does appear to show the abducted peacekeepers, although they are not the focus of the message. Several people in the signature light blue helmets and vests of the United Nations can be seen inside the captured vehicles while their kidnappers energetically talk about the treachery of both the United Nations and the Syrian government.
Speaking about the United Nations, one rebel shouts, “They are agents of Israel, and the Syrian regime and the United Nations and all the European countries, and the Assad regime, they are all agents of Israel!”
He also calls Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, “an agent of Zionism and America” before the sound of gunfire is heard. “One of the tyrant’s snipers is shooting at us,” he said, before the video ended.
In a second video clip, a young spokesman for the rebels listed their demands.
The spokesman said:
We are holding the forces of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force until the withdrawal of Bashar al-Assad’s forces from the village of al-Jamla and its outskirts to their positions. We ask America, the United Nations and the Security Council that Assad’s forces withdraw to obtain their release. We won’t release them until after the withdrawal of the forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad from the outskirts of the village of al-Jamla, which is on the border with Israel. We ask them for the complete withdrawal of the forces back to their positions. If the withdrawal does not take place within 24 hours, we will treat them as prisoners of war, and praise be to God almighty.