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As UN Attacked in Golan, It Has No Answers on Croatians Fleeing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 6, updated -- Amid reports and YouTube video of an attack on UNDOF Peacekeepers in Golan, the UN at Wednesday's noon briefing rebuffed questions from the press.

Inner City Press asked for a description of the UN's knowledge and dealings with the Al-Yarmouk Brigade, shown as taking credit. Deputy Spokesman Eduardo Del Buey said he had nothing on that.

Update of 1:37 pm -- Inner City Press put the same question to UN Security Council President Vitaly Churkin, if it was Yarmouk and if they demanded that the Syrian Army leave the village of Jamla.

 Churkin said there were demands made about the situation "on the ground;" in his national capacity he said countries with influence on the armed Syrian opposition should tell them to release the twenty peacekeepers.

Two days earlier on March 4 Inner City Press asked Del Buey about insecurity in UNDOF:

Inner City Press: Eduardo, I want to ask you about Syria, or UNDOF, more particularly, Croatia has announced that it wants to withdraw 100 of its soldiers that it has in UNDOF, saying that it has become unsafe after reports of Syrian rebels getting weapons from the Balkans, including Croatia. What’s the plan? From DPKO’s (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) perspective, how fast is Croatia pulling out and does it have some plan? What countries is it asking to replace these soldiers in UNDOF?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, to date we have had no formal word from the Croatian authorities that they are planning to do that, so it remains hypothetical.

  Is it still hypothetical? And what countries, now, would step in to replace the Croatians? There were no answers at Wednesday's UN noon briefing.

  Running back to the UN Security Council, Inner City Press spotted the unscheduled arrival of the head of DPKO, Herve Ladsous. He was last seen to the side of the Security Council stakeout at 5 pm on Tuesday.

 Ladsous left as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon answered the second of what were to be two questions (on Hugo Chavez). So he didn't hear, nor of course answer, the third question from Inner City Press about his inaction on the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, his partners.

  Now, reportedly, the Al-Yarmouk Brigades accuse the UN Peacekeepers of "helping government forces to redeploy in areas that was under rebels' control.”

  Inner City Press has asked the Syrian Mission about the village of Jamla; to Del Buey at noon Inner City Press asked about a new March 6 letter the Syrian Mission told Inner City Press it filed with the Security Council and Ban. Del Buey said he would check - for now, we'll put the letter online here. Watch this site.

Footnote: Ladsous' predecessor Alain Le Roy, in circumstances where UN Peacekeepers were attacked, would invariably speak to the Press. Ladsous does not - who is served?

Update: here's a transcript of what Del Buey read out at noon:

"The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has reported that, earlier today, approximately 30 armed fighters stopped and detained a group of around 20 peacekeepers within the Area of Limitation, east of the B-Line.

The UN observers were on a regular supply mission and were stopped near Observation Post 58, which had sustained damage and was evacuated this past weekend following heavy combat in close proximity, at Jamla. The Mission is dispatching a team to assess the situation and attempt a resolution."

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