Syrian troops, rebels in renewed clashes near Golan
Fresh clashes erupted Friday between Syrian government troops and rebels in a border crossing near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, said activists, a day after Damascus said it had regained control of the outpost, dpa reported.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group monitoring the situation inside Syria, said violent clashes were raging between both sides in the town of Quneitra on the Syrian side of Golan.
The fighting broke out following attacks by opposition forces on checkpoints of regime troops in the area, added the Observatory.
The Dubai-based broadcaster al-Arabiya showed video footage of heavy shelling and thick smoke billowing from the area.
Two United Nations soldiers were wounded Thursday in the fighting in Quneitra, which prompted Austria to announce withdrawing its peacekeepers from the area.
A total of 380 members of the 900-strong UN mission in the area are Austrian, meaning the pullout puts its future in question.
Elsewhere, two French journalists have gone missing in Syria, France's private Europe 1 radio reported Friday.
The broadcaster said it had not heard from its reporter Didier Francois and photographer Edouard Elias in 24 hours. The two had been trying to reach the northern Syrian city of Aleppo from the border with Turkey.
Speaking in Japan, where he is on a state visit, French President Francois Hollande demanded that the pair be freed immediately while saying the circumstances of their disappearance were unclear.
"Journalists must be treated as journalists," he said. "These are men working so that the world can be informed."