Syria rebels hand monitors to U.N. team in Khan Sheikhoun

AMMAN/BEIRUT Wed May 16, 2012 7:09am EDT

1 of 5. Members of the United Nations observers mission in Syria stand at a shop in Damascus, before heading to areas where protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been taking place, May 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri

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AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebels delivered six U.N. ceasefire monitors caught up in attack that killed at least 21 civilians to U.N. colleagues on Wednesday, a rebel commander said.

"We gave the six with their cars to a U.N. convoy near the entrance of Khan Sheikhoun. They are all safe, in good heath and on their way to Damascus," Free Syrian Army commander Abu Hassan said by satellite phone from the site of the handover.

Video footage released by the Free Syrian Army showed a United Nations convoy, including damaged U.N. vehicles on flatbed trucks, driving off from the area.

Abu Hassan said the monitors, whose cars were damaged in the attack at a funeral in Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday, had been under protection of the rebels since then.

Rebels said the attack was carried out by government forces, while pro-government media accused unidentified gunmen of carrying it out.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny and Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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