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Golan crisis

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

THE Al-Nusra front demands that its name be struck off the UN terrorist list.

This is one of the three demands made to the UN by the group for the release of 45 Fijian soldiers detained at an undisclosed location.

Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga, said the group also demanded for the UN to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ruta, which is a town on the outskirts of Damascus, an Al-Nusra dominated area.

He said the kidnappers also demanded compensation for the three casualties.

"We have just had another very intensive briefing this morning (yesterday) on the situation in Syria. Our operations team that is manning the Syrian Crisis Centre said there has been a lot of UN activity in the last 24 hours and specially with the force commander and his negotiation team trying to continue and raise the level of negotiations with the rebels," Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said yesterday.

"Unfortunately at this stage, we have not made any improvement on our situation. Our troops are still in an undisclosed location, the rebels are not telling us where the troops are but they continue to reassure us they have been well looked after and have been kept safe and that they are taken out of battle areas and are in safe areas.

"I have also been told by UN headquarters that the negotiation team are now in a place in Syria from New York, they have now taken over the negotiation from the crisis management team made up of force commander and his senior officers at UNDOF."

Brig-Gen Tikoitoga said they were assured by the UN headquarters that it would bring all its resources to ensure the safe return of the Fijian soldiers.

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