U.N. chief condemns detention of peacekeepers in Golan

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Tuesday strongly condemned the detention of four peacekeepers from the Philippine battalion in the Golan Heights and called for their immediate release, his spokesman said.

Ban "strongly condemns the detention of four United Nations

Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) peacekeepers by armed elements in the vicinity of Al Jamla, in the area of limitation and calls for their immediate release," Martin Nesirky, Ban's spokesman, said at a briefing.

The four were detained on Tuesday while monitoring a ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.

Ban also "calls on all parties to respect UNDOF's freedom of movement and safety and security."

On March 6, 21 UNDOF peacekeepers, also from the Philippines, were captured in the same location by armed elements of the Syrian opposition, but were later released.

The UNDOF Peacekeepers monitor the 1974 ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel after the 1973 war. In December, the Security Council extended the mission's mandate for another six months, until 30 June 2013.