United Nations: The UN Monday withdrew its peacekeepers from the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights, a spokesperson said.
The UN statement cited the "exceptionally challenging environment" posed by armed rebel groups advancing on peacekeeping positions its observer force has held for close to four decades, CNN reported.
The UN withdrawal occurred just over two weeks after Islamic militants took some peacekeepers hostage and besieged others.
Al-Nusra Front freed 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji in good condition last week, while forces from the Philippines escaped after exchanging fire with militant fighters, media reports said.
UN forces have been stationed in the Golan Heights since 1974 following negotiations between Israel and Syria to reduce tensions along their shared border after hostilities in 1973. Israel has occupied a portion of the territory since seizing it during its 1967 war with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.