OTTAWA – The United Nations has confirmed that one its staff members, believed to be Canadian, is missing along the Syrian-Israeli border.
Eduardo Del Buey, deputy spokesman for the secretary general, told a media briefing in New York that an employee working with the peacekeeping mission along the Golan Heights is unaccounted for in the region.
He would not confirm a name or nationality, but media reports in Israel identify the man as Carl Campeau, a Canadian legal adviser.
Del Buey refused all other comment.
The Times of Israel reports that the staffer was stationed with the UN Disengagement Observer Force, which is based on the Syrian side of the demilitarized zone separating the two countries.
Troops loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad have apparently fled the Golan Heights, leaving rebel forces in control of the area.
Campeau has apparently been missing for several days.
Foreign Affairs has not commented on his disappearance, although government sources said an internal team, usually activated when a Canadian is taken hostage overseas, has been assembled within the department to investigate.
Canada participated in the peacekeeping mission along the Syrian border from its inception in 1974 until 2006, when the last of its troops were withdrawn as the Afghan war tramped up.
Government sources said Campeau is a civilian working directly for the United Nations and is not acting on behalf of the Canadian government.
Since civil war erupted in Syria almost two years ago, there have been a series of escalating clashes along the border with Israel between rebels and pro-government forces.
The UN mission, currently led by an Indian general, has imposed stricter security measures.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967.