(Newsroom America) -- Four United Nations peacekeepers captured last week while on patrol in the Golan Heights have been released unharmed.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the safe release of the four peacekeepers of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) who had been detained on 7 May by armed elements near Al Jamlah.
"He appreciates the assistance of Qatar and of others involved in securing their safe release," he said in a statement.
This latest abduction was a replay of a similar incident that occurred on 6 March, when 21 UNDOF peacekeepers were captured in the same location by armed elements of the Syrian opposition. They were held four days before being released safely.
In the wake of that incident, the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement on 27 March expressing its "grave concern" at the presence of the Syrian and opposition troops inside the demilitarized area of the Golan Heights, and called on both sides to respect the blue helmets' freedom of movement and security.
Peacekeepers serving with UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war. In December, the Security Council extended the mission's mandate for another six months, until 30 June 2013.