UN hopes Golan ceasefire will lead freeing of observers

The United Nations hopes a possible cease-fire will allow it to negotiate the release of 21 UN observers held in the Golan by Syrian rebels, the head of UN peacekeeping operations said Friday.

Herve Ladsous told reporters the peacekeepers were being held in the village of Al Jamla which was under intense bombardment by Syrian forces.

"There is a possibility that a ceasefire of a few hours can intervene which would allow for our people to be released," he said.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said: "We are hopeful the hostages will be released very soon."