March 6, 2013 - 21:38 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Syrian rebels say they have seized a convoy of United Nations observers near the Golan Heights, according to videos posted on YouTube on Wednesday, March 6 by a violence monitoring group, The Jerusalem Post reported.
A young man saying he was from the "Martyrs of Yarmouk" brigade said the convoy would not be released until forces loyal to President Bashar Assad withdrew from the village of Jamla, a mile east of the ceasefire line with the Israeli Golan.
Surrounded by several rebel fighters with assault rifles, the man stood in front of a two white armored vehicles and a truck with "UN" written on them. At least five people seen sitting in the vehicles were wearing United Nations light blue helmets and bullet-proof vests.
"The command of the Martyrs of Yarmouk announced that it is holding forces of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force until the withdrawal of forces of the regime of (President) Bashar Assad from the outskirts of the village of Jamla," said the man, wearing civilian clothes.
"If no withdrawal is made within 24 hours we will treat them as prisoners," he said, accusing them of collaborating with Assad's forces to push the rebels out of Jamla. UNDOF supervises a 1974 ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel.
The United Nations said about 20 peacekeepers had been detained by around 30 armed fighters in the Golan Heights on the border between Syria and Israel on Wednesday and that it has sent a team to resolve the situation.
"The UN observers were on a regular supply mission and were stopped near Observation Post 58, which had sustained damage and was evacuated this past weekend following heavy combat in close proximity, at Al Jamlah," the United Nations said in a statement issued in New York.
Syria's two-year civil war, which has killed more than 70,000 people, has been spilling over into the Golan Heights area.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war. Syrian troops are not allowed in the area of separation under a 1973 ceasefire formalized in 1974. Israel and Syria are still technically at war. The area is patrolled by UN peacekeepers.