|Syrian residents surround U.N. vehicle|
(Scroll down for video) The Syrian rebels have shown to the world their true colors after they kidnapped at least 21 U.N. soldiers at the Syrian-Israeli border, according to a statement by the United Nations.
The Syrian rebels kidnapped 21 peacekeepers in the Golan Heights and said they would keep them imprisoned until the Syrian government withdraws all its forces from a nearby village, as the chaos of the country's civil war is spilling over to the most stable Israeli border.
A group of about 30 armed fighters detained the unarmed peacekeepers in Syria on Wednesday at a U.N. patrol base near the Syrian town of Al Jamlah, a U.N. spokesperson said. The nationalities of the peacekeepers could not be confirmed, the U.N. official said.
The Martyrs Brigade of Yarmuk, a small force in southern Syria’s Deraa province, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The brigade has said that it is loyal to the Free Syrian Army, the military wing of the Syrian opposition coalition which is internationally recognized.
However, General Salim Idriss, the leader of the Supreme Council of the Syrian military umbrella group, condemned the kidnapping and said he would work on getting the U.N. soldiers released.
The U.N. was in talks with the kidnappers to secure the release of the peacekeepers, the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin, said later in the day. The U.N. said it was only in contact with the Syrian authorities.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view