Syrian Rebels Issue Demands for Captive Fiji Peacekeepers

Nusra Front wants to be taken off UN terror list and asks that humanitarian aid be delivered to Damascus, Fiji says.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) ride armored personnel carriers (APCs) in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before crossing into Syria, August 31, 2014.
Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) ride armored personnel carriers (APCs) in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before crossing into Syria, August 31, 2014.Credit: Reuters

Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days.

Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the Al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the UN terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with UN officers.

Tikoitoga didn't say if the demands would be seriously considered. He said the UN had sent hostage negotiators to Syria to take over discussions from military leaders.

"Negotiations have moved up to another level with the professional negotiators now in place," he said.

The Nusra Front abducted the Fijian soldiers Thursday morning and is holding them at an unknown location. The rebels on Thursday also surrounded two Filipino units serving in the UN mission that monitors the buffer zone between Israel and Syria, but the Filipino troops escaped over the weekend.

Tikoitoga on Tuesday also released the names of the 45 detained soldiers, who he said are led by Captain Savenaca Siwatibau Rabuka.

The commander asked Fiji's community and church leaders to help look after the families of the captive troops and asked the public to also offer support.

"I appeal to all Fijians that while we pray for our soldiers in Syria that we be sensitive to the families," he said, adding "the UN has assured us they will use all of their available resources for the safe return of our soldiers."

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer