U.N. says Syria shelling holding up retrieval of peacekeepers
Friday, March 08, 2013 - 01:29
March 8 - The U.N. Security Council said Friday that intense Syrian army bombardment is preventing the safe retrieval of 21 UN peacekeepers who were seized by rebels near the Golan Heights two days ago. Mana Rabiee reports.
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21 UN peacekeepers captured by Syrian rebels near the Golan Heights could be freed - if Syrian government shelling in the area would only stop.
That was the message on Friday from the UN Security Council after a closed door meeting.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the peacekeepers were held in a village under Syrian government shelling, but that a temporary ceasefire could help free the men.
(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) HERVE LADSOUS, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, SAYING:
"There is perhaps a hope, but I have to be extremely cautious because it is not done yet. But there is the possibility that a ceasefire of a few hours can intervene which would allow for our people to be released."
In Manila, the brother of one of the detained men said he's confident his sibling will survive this ordeal.
(SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) XY-SON MENESES, BROTHER OF SEIZED U.N. PEACEKEEPER, SAYING:
"Of course, Mama and Papa are extremely worried. But then, we have trust in the government, particularly the Philippine Army, in the negotiations that they are doing. So what we must do is pray."
The men, manny of them from the Philippines, are now in their third day of detention by a Syrian rebel group calling itself the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade.
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