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September 2, 2014 2:32 pm

Syrian Jihadists Make Demands for Release of Fijian Peacekeepers

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The Israel-Syria border crossing in the Golan Heights. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group al-Nusra Front has issued a series of demands that it said must be met to secure the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers it took hostage during a takeover of the Israel-Syria border crossing in the Golan Heights.

Fijian military commander Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Nusra Front’s demands include removal of the group from the U.N. terrorist list, humanitarian aid delivery to parts of Damascus, and payment for three jihadists killed during a shootout with the U.N. peacekeepers, The Associated Press reported.

It is unclear if the U.N. will seek to meet the demands of the jihadist group. The U.N. has sent hostage negotiators to Syria.

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“I appeal to all Fijians that while we pray for our soldiers in Syria that we be sensitive to the families,” Tikoitoga said.

Approximately 1,200 U.N. peacekeepers serve in the Golan Heights as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. Peacekeepers from the Philippines were also caught in the jihadist assault last week, but managed to escape after defending themselves for several hours.

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