Syria’s civil war entangled the U.N. peacekeeping operation in the disputed Golan Heights between Syria and Israel for the first time on Wednesday. Thirty armed insurgents seized 20 armed peacekeepers investigating a damaged observation post and threatened to treat them as enemy prisoners if Syrian government forces remained in the area.

As the war has worsened, the Golan has been periodically disrupted by armed clashes and occasional bombardments that have become a source of concern to Israel. But U.N. officials said that members of the Golan peacekeeping mission had never before been seized by any of the combatants in the conflict.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group based in Britain with a network of contacts inside Syria, said the peacekeepers were Filipino. A video uploaded on YouTube by a group that identified itself as the Martyrs of Yarmouk claimed responsibility and said the peacekeepers would be held until Syrian government forces had withdrawn from the area.

new york times