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Syrian Rebels Free U.N. Peacekeepers Captured Along Israel Border

The al-Qaeda-affiliated group released the peacekeepers after two weeks in captivity.

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Syrian rebels affiliated with al-Qaeda have released 45 United Nations peacekeepers that the rebels took captive two weeks ago from a station along the Syria-Israel border, the U.N. confirmed Thursday.

The peacekeepers, all from Fiji, are reportedly in good health and will undergo medical assessments, the U.N. reported. Israeli authorities confirmed that the peacekeepers had crossed safely from Syria into Israel Thursday.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra captured the peacekeepers on Aug. 28, after they seized control of the border area during a battle with the Syrian army. On Wednesday, al-Nusra released a video via their YouTube and Twitter accounts in which they reported that the U.N. peacekeepers would soon be released.

The seized Fijans were part of a permanent U.N. peacekeeping force stationed in Quneitra along the border that has separated Syria and Israel since 1973. Syrian rebels and soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have previously clashed in the militarily strategic no-man's-land between Israel and Syria.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com.

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