Militants are seen on the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing between the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Syria August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
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Clashes erupted between Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels and U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights Saturday after the militants surrounded their encampment, activists and officials said, as the international organization risked being sucked further into the conflict.Other U.N. peacekeepers were able to flee from a different encampment that that was also surrounded by rebels of the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, they said. The clashes came after Syrian rebel groups, including the Nusra Front, overran the Quneitra crossing -- located on the frontier between Syrian and Israeli controlled parts of the Golan Heights -- on Wednesday, seizing 44 Fijian peacekeepers. The Nusra Front also surrounded the nearby Rwihana and Breiqa encampments, where other U.N. peacekeepers were holed up. The 35 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers at the Breiqa encampment were extracted on Saturday morning, with the assistance of Irish peacekeepers who rushed to the scene, said officials.It was not immediately clear which rebel group was holding the Fijian U.N. peacekeepers, although it was likely to be the Nusra Front, said Syrian activist Abdurrahman.
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