BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Canadian man working for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights has been released, Syrian state television said on Thursday, eight months after he was reported to have been captured by rebel fighters.
Carl Campeau, a legal adviser to the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), went missing in February. He was handed over by the Foreign Ministry to a United Nations representative in Syria, the television said.
At the time of his disappearance a rebel source in southern Syria said Campeau had been taken by another rebel brigade and held for ransom. State media reports did not clarify how Campeau's release was secured.
His capture was followed by the detention of 21 Filipino UNDOF observers by rebels, which forced the mission to scale back patrols along a ceasefire line between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Syria. They were freed three days later.
UNDOF, which has been monitoring the area since 1974, has about 1,000 peacekeepers and civilian staff from India, Nepal, Ireland, Fiji, Moldova, Morocco and the Philippines.
Peacekeepers from Austria, Croatia and Japan have pulled out because of the growing threat from Syria's 2-1/2 year civil war. The Philippines said in July it would likely keep its 342 soldiers in the ceasefire zone for six more months.
(Reporting by Dominic Evans; editing by Ralph Boulton)