The United Nations announced that 4 members of its observer force in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights have been detained and are being held as hostages by rebel forces.
The Syrian opposition Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade said that it is holding the group for their own safety, after clashes in the area separating Syria and Golan Heights, occupied by Israel.
An image attached to the group's statement showed 4 peacekeepers wearing blue U.N. flak jackets, emblazoned with the word 'Philippines'.
On its Facebook page, the group said: "The leadership of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, members of the Free Syrian Army, working in the south-west zone of Deraa province, has assumed the responsibility of securing and the protecting the U.N. staff working in the Yarmouk Valley, in the buffer zone between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights, due to the clashes and shelling taking place in the region.".
"Members of the Syrian regime's army had occupied positions near to the international observers, threatening their safety and lives," the group's statement said.
"Fearing for their safety and because of clashes between the two parties and concerns that the regime's army may bombard or shoot them, prompted us to intervene and work to ensure they could get out of the region," it continued.