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Article updated: 10/17/2013 10:44 AM

UN: Canadian abducted in February has been freed

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By Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS -- A Canadian lawyer abducted in February while serving with the U.N. observer force in the Golan Heights has been released, the United Nations announced Thursday.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Carl Campeau is now with the United Nations and "initial indications are that he is in good health."

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The Canadian government said it is "thrilled" that Campeau was released in Syria.

"Our ambassador to Lebanon has already spoken with him and we are offering him whatever support he requires," Jean-Bruno Villeneuve, a spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs department, said in an email to The Associated Press.

Campeau was serving as a legal adviser with the U.N. mission, known as UNDOF, when he was abducted.

UNDOF was established in May 1974 following intensified firing on the Israel-Syria border after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war to monitor the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and Syria wants the land returned in exchange for peace. The mission has a little over 1,000 troops.

The Syrian news agency SANA said the Syrian Foreign Minister handed over Campeau to the U.N. resident representative in Syria.

It said he was kidnapped by "terrorists" -- the government's term for opposition supporters -- in the Damascus suburb of Khan al-Sheik.

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