BERLIN – German police have arrested a Syrian national in the southern city of Stuttgart suspected of taking part in the kidnapping by Islamic rebels of a United Nations peacekeeper near Damascus three years ago, prosecutors said on Friday.
They believe the suspect, a 24-year-old named as Suliman A.-S. under German privacy laws, was a member of the Islamic militant group Nusra Front, which kidnapped the peacekeeper in Feb. 2013 and demanded a ransom in exchange for his release.
The prosecutor’s office did not say whether the man was a Syrian asylum seeker or under what status he lived in Germany.
“An arrest warrant was issued against him because of suspicion of committing a war crime against a humanitarian operation,” the prosecutor general said in the statement, referring to the Syrian suspect.
A judge ordered him to be held in custody.
The U.N. peacekeeper, who served in the demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights, escaped in October of the same year, prosecutors said.
They did not give his nationality.
The growing safety risks led to the withdrawal from the U.N. mission, known as UNDOF, of the Austrian and Croatian contingents, essentially leaving India and the Philippines as the only remaining troop contributors