Top of the Morning: 4 Peacekeepers Kidnapped in Golan Heights

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

Four Peacekeepers Kidnapped By Syrian Rebels in Golan Heights

Just a few months after a rebel group detained 20 peacekeepers, it seems they are at it again. “Syrian rebels said on Tuesday they were holding four Filipino U.N. peacekeepers on the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after clashes in the area had put them in danger. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the detention and called for the peacekeepers’ immediate release. They were detained as they patrolled close to an area where 21 Filipino observers were held for three days in March.” (Reuters

 US and Russia Announce New Diplomatic Push on Syria

This is key because the road to a political solution in Damascus passes through Moscow. “Russia and the United States have pledged to convene an international conference aimed at ending the civil war in Syria, hoping to give the situation a new diplomatic push following two years of bloodshed. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, announced the move at a midnight press conference in the Russian capital. Kerry also met Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow. The announcement of the joint initiative comes after months of stalled co-operation on Syria.” (Guardian