BEIRUT (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is strongly condemning a rebel attack on U.N. peacekeepers' positions in the Golan Heights and is demanding the "unconditional and immediate release" of all detained peacekeepers.
Activists and officials say clashes erupted between al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels and U.N. peacekeepers on Saturday after the militants surrounded their encampment.
They say other U.N. peacekeepers were able to flee from a different encampment that that was also surrounded by rebels of the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate.
The clashes came after Syrian rebel groups, including the Nusra Front, overran the Quneitra (koo-NEHT'-ruh) crossing on the frontier between Syrian and Israeli controlled parts of the Golan Heights on Wednesday, seizing 44 Fijian peacekeepers.
The Nusra Front also surrounded two other nearby encampments, where other U.N. peacekeepers were holed up.
The U.N. mission has 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.
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