Damascus, SANA – The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry held Qatar fully responsible for the kidnapping of personnel of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force ( UNDOF) monitoring a disengagement accord established in 1974 between Syria and the Israeli enemy which occupies the Syrian Golan.
An official source at the Ministry said that Syria, over the past period, has been closely and seriously keeping up with the risks which have faced the UNDOF, and “noticed that UNDOF personnel came under serious attacks by some armed terrorist organizations, particularly Jabhat al-Nusra.”
43 Fijian UN personnel were kidnapped by what the UN recently described as “armed elements” on August 28, who are still detained since then. Jabhat al-Nusra, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the Security Council, claimed responsibility for the abduction. Clashes also broke out between Filipino troops and the terrorist groups.
Early last year, a number of Filipino UN personnel operating within the UNDOF were also kidnapped by armed terrorist groups.
In a statement, which SANA got a copy of, the Foreign Ministry source added that Syria, “which has always asserted its respect of the UN mission as part of its international obligations, noticed that the two abduction cases which the Filipino battalion faced for the first time a year ago, and recently the Fijian force, were carried out with the direct complicity and incitement of Qatar.”
The source stressed that Qatar has ties with Jabhat al-Nusra- an offshoot of al-Qaeda- in terms of funding and arming the terrorist organization, ties, the source said, “are no longer unknown to the UN and the international community.”
“While stressing that the kidnapping of UNDOF personnel is an unforgivable crime, Syria affirms that Jabhat al-Nusra criminals wouldn’t have been able to commit such acts had they not been directly emboldened by Qatar as it has showed willingness to spend millions of dollars under the pretext of it making efforts to release the abducted UN personnel,” the source added.
It pointed out that Syria condemns terrorism under whatever pretext it is committed in compliance with the rules of the Security Councils’ resolutions 1373 and 2170, which provide for combating terrorism and halting its funding.
While condemning terrorism, the source said that Syria “demands that the Security Council shoulder its responsibility of stopping these Qatari practices which contravene international law and the Council’s relevant resolutions.”
As of July 31, there are 1,223 UN peacekeepers from six countries– Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, and the Philippines– serving in the UNDOF. The UN force’s mandate has been recently renewed until the 13th of next December.
Haifa Said / Hazem Sabbagh