The team demurred, Lamani said, then was ‘‘surprised’’ again when rebels took the peacekeepers directly to Jordan.
‘‘We were surprised to hear to hear the news from a satellite channel that they had reached Jordan,’’ he said. ‘‘Praise God in the end that all of them were released safely.’’
An activist associated with the captors said via Skype that the rebels had not been able to reach the U.N. team because of ‘‘security conditions’’ so had taken them to Jordan instead.
He said the Syrian government had been shelling and carrying out airstrikes on the area for weeks, and that locals worried the situation would get worse after the captives left.
‘‘They lightened the shelling today, but we fear that now they will launch a harsh attack on the area,’’ he said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the United Nations Saturday that the Syrian army had held its fire in the area ‘‘out of concern for the security and safety of the U.N. forces.’’
It called on the U.N. to ‘‘unequivocally condemn the attacks of those terrorist groups against civilians and work to dislodge those terrorist groups immediately from the region.’’
The Syria government says the uprising is a foreign-backed conspiracy to weaken the country carried out by ‘‘terrorists’’ — its blanket term for the opposition.
The peacekeepers are part of a U.N. mission known as UNDOF that was set up to monitor a cease-fire in 1974, seven years after Israel captured the plateau and a year after it pushed back Syrian troops trying to recapture the territory.
The truce’s stability has been shaken in recent months, as Syrian mortar shells have hit the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
Israeli officials worry the violence will prompt UNDOF to end its mission.
On Friday, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said ‘‘the mission in the Golan needs to review its security arrangements and it has been doing that.’’
Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Beirut and Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.