March 8, 2013 / 7:40 PM / 7 years ago

Unsafe conditions scuttle release of U.N. peacekeepers in Syria: U.N.

United Nations peacekeepers drive into the Syrian side of Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line at the Kuneitra border crossing, in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights March 8, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations had arranged for the release of 21 peacekeepers seized by Syrian rebels earlier this week but had to call off the handover due to what it determined were unsafe conditions, a U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman said on Friday.

“Arrangements were made with all parties for the release of the 21 peacekeepers,” the spokeswoman said. “UNDOF dispatched a team to the location but due to the late hour and the darkness it was considered unsafe to continue the operation. Efforts will continue tomorrow.”

The peacekeepers are part of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has been monitoring a ceasefire line between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights since 1974.

Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Eric Beech

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