A group of 45 UN peacekeepers kidnapped two weeks ago in the Golan Heights have been released and are in good condition, the UN has said.

A spokesman said the 45 Fijian peacekeepers were handed to the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) this afternoon.

The UNDOF is monitoring a 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights.

Minister for Agriculture and Defence Simon Coveney has welcomed the release of the Fijian troops. He added that Irish troops were not involved in the operation. 

An Israeli military spokesperson has said that the Fijian peacekeepers have crossed over into Israeli-held territory.

Al Jazeera television reported this morning that the al-Qaeda-backed Nusra Front group had released the peacekeepers.

Yesterday, the group posted a video on its Twitter and YouTube accounts in which the hostages, from the South Pacific nation, said they expected to be freed soon.

The head of Fiji's army said yesterday the Islamist militant group had dropped all of its demands to free the 45 hostages, but at least slightly back-pedalled later in the day as the situation appeared to deteriorate.

It was unclear whether the video, carried by the SITE monitoring service, was made before or after the confusion surrounding those comments, but a UN source earlier told Reuters that the militants had insisted on such a video as a condition for the peacekeepers' release.

Syria's three-year civil war reached the frontier with Israeli-controlled occupied territory last month when Islamist fighters overran a crossing point in the line that has separated Israelis from Syrians in the Golan Heights since a 1973 war.

Since then the fighters have turned on the UN soldiers, part of a peacekeeping force that has patrolled the ceasefire line for 40 years.

After the Fijians were captured, more than 70 Filipinos spent two days besieged at two locations before reaching safety.

The Nusra Front had demanded compensation for fighters killed during the confrontation, humanitarian assistance for its supporters and its removal from the UN list of terrorist organisations.

Qatar, one country in the Middle East thought by the United States to have influence with the Islamist militant group, said Fiji had formally requested its assistance in freeing the hostages.

US officials have said that Qatar played a critical role in persuading the Nusra Front to free American journalist Peter Theo Curtis last month, whom the front had been holding hostage since 2012.

Since independence from Britain in 1970, Fiji has sent more soldiers on UN peacekeeping missions than any other nation, on a per capita basis, which provides its stalled economy with much-needed hard currency and helps to bolster its global standing.