Jubilant Fijians celebrated on Friday the release of 45 UN peacekeepers from the South Pacific nation who were kidnapped by al Qaeda linked rebels on the Golan Heights, hailing them as heroes after their two-week ordeal.
An al Qaeda-backed militant group that seized 45 UN peacekeepers two weeks ago on the Golan Heights has posted a video in which the hostages, from the South Pacific nation of Fiji, say they expect to be released soon.
The head of UN peacekeeping operations has commended General Iqbal Singh Singha, the Indian force commander of the UN mission in the Golan Heights, for his "strong leadership" and "good and sound judgement" during a hostage crisis in the area last week.
The U.N. peacekeeping chief strongly denied on Wednesday allegations from the Philippines` army chief that Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights were ordered to surrender their weapons to Islamist militants who had trapped them.
Islamist fighters who seized dozens of Fijian soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights last week are demanding that their group be removed from a global terrorism list and that compensation be paid for members killed in fighting, the head of Fiji`s army said on Tuesday.
Heavy fighting erupted on Monday between the Syrian army and Islamist rebels on the Golan Heights, where 44 peacekeepers from Fiji are being held by militants and scores of their fellow blue helmets from the Philippines escaped after resisting capture.
Heavy fighting between Syrian army forces and rebels erupted on the Golan Heights on Monday, a Reuters photographer said, but it was unclear if either of the two sides had gained an advantage to control a key frontier crossing.