UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- A UN spokesman on Friday updated the number of peacekeepers detained in the Golan Heights to 44, saying the world organization is making every effort to ensure their release.
"The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) reported that 44 Fijian troops are being detained and 72 Filipino troops have movements who are still being restricted in the Golan Heights," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily briefing.
The updated figures followed cross checking and confirmation of leave records with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), according to Dujarric.
"The United Nations continues to engage with a wide range of parties within Syria, and is making every effort to ensure the safety and security of its personnel," he said.
The United Nations is also engaging with member states who may have influence over armed opposition elements to encourage the safe release of the peacekeepers, he said.
The UN Spokesperson Office confirmed on Tuesday that 43 peacekeepers from the UNDOF were detained early that morning by an armed group in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah within the area of separation in the Golan Heights. In addition, another 81 UNDOF peacekeepers were being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah.
UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013 and were released safely.
Peacekeepers serving with the UNDOF monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war. In June, the Security Council extended the mission's mandate for another six months, until Dec. 31, 2014.
As of July 31, 2014, there are 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries serving in the UNDOF -- Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and Philippines.