Following one day of control of the city of al-Quneitra by groups loyal to the Syrian regime, armed groups thought to belong to Al-Nusra kidnapped and detained 43 Fijian soldiers from the peace-keeping forces at the Golan Heights, as well as besieging 81 Philippine soldiers from the same forces at the Quneitra border crossing- the only crossing between Syria and the hills of the Golan Heights, occupied since 1967.
According to UN officials, the Philippine soldiers are being held close to the villages of Ruhainiya and Bariqa, whilst the Fijian soldiers were taken to the Southern part of the buffer zone.
The kidnappers have not announced any demands they have, nor has the UN announced whether it has received any demands from the kidnappers or not. However, a spokesman of the UN has pointed out that the international organisation is putting in all its efforts to release the kidnapped soldiers.
Six countries make up the peace keeping forces in the Golan Heights, compromising of 1200 soldiers. They include: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Holland and the Philippines. The forces renewed their mission for six months, and their period will end on 31 December 2014.
Groups opposing Assad gained control of the borders in June 2013. The Syrian army however regained its control of the borders shortly following this period.
Twenty-one soldiers from the peace keeping forces were also detained on 6/3/2013, and later released on 9/3/2013.