Detained U.N. peacekeepers say they are “safe” in posted videos
Thursday, March 07, 2013 - 01:29
March 7 - Videos posted online Thursday purport to show some of the nearly 20 U.N. peacekeepers who were captured by Syrian rebels along the Golan Heights. Mana Rabiee reports.
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Day two of their detention.
Videos posted Thursday purport to show some of the 21 U.N. peacekeepers who were captured by Syrian rebels along the Golan Heights the day before.
In the videos, several of the men say their convoy stopped near a rebel-held village to escape artillery fire -- claiming that Syrian "civilians" had moved them to various locations for their ..quote..."safety".
"They give us water for drink. Don't worry, we are in a safe place."
Reuters cannot independently verify the videos.
But the men's statements are at odds with what the U.N. says -- that its peacekeepers were forcibly captured by elements of the Syrian opposition.
In videos posted Wednesday, rebels calling themselves the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade said they captured the peacekeepers and would hold them as "prisoners" -- until Assad forces leave the area.
The UN has condemned the capture and says it is in talks with rebels to win the men's freedom.
THREE MEN WEARING LIGHT BLUE JACKETS READING "PHILIPPINES U.N." SITTING NEXT TO EACH OTHER, ONE OF THEM SAYING IN ENGLISH:
"To our families: We hope to see you soon, we are okay here. Thank you."
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch is investigating the Yarmouk brigade for involvement in past executions, including a videotaped killing of Syrian soldiers posted to the Internet earlier this week.
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