47 UN peacekeepers ‘abducted by al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebels’

Armored vehicles from the U.N. peacekeepers of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, also known as UNDOF wait to cross from the Israeli controlled Golan Heights to Syria Photo: Ariel Schalit/AP

Syrian militants have reportedly captured more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers during skirmishes on the Israeli border.

Forty-seven soldiers from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) are understood to have been abducted during clashes in the Golan Heights area between Syrian government forces and militants fighting with the Al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda linked group.

Details of the abduction, which took place during fighting on Thursday, remain unclear but it is understood that some of the troops who have been kidnapped include soldiers from the Philippines.

The UN peacekeeping mission was set up in 1974 to attempt to enforce a truce between Syria and Israel, which took the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967.

However, the soldiers have found themselves increasingly in the firing line of Syria’s own civil war since it began in 2011…