The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday the timing of freeing the 21 United Nations observers kidnapped Wednesday by Syrian rebels depends on guaranteeing the observers’’ safe passage to their base and negotiating a withdrawal from the area of soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Syrian Free Army disassociated itself from the Yarmouk Brigade that detained the observers on Wednesday as they were driving from the Golan Heights border.
The rebel brigade posted a video showing six of the UN observers, all from the Philippines, and said they are being treated as “guests.” The kidnappers had charged that the observers, whose mission is to monitor the 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria, were working on behalf of Assad.
The captain of the observer force spoke on the video, stating that “civilian people” picked up the 21 observers to guarantee their safety during heavy fighting between rebels and Assad’s soldiers in the nearby village of Jamlah.
“Civilian people helped us, for our safety and distributed us in different places to keep us safe. And they gave us good accommodation and gave us food to eat and water to drink,” he said.