Filipino troops trapped in Syria will not give in

“The Philippine peacekeepers held their ground and demonstrated their resolve to defend their positions. They did not surrender their firearms as they may in turn be held hostage themselves. This resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation at this time as UN officials try to peacefully resolve the situation,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala.

81 Filipino troops under United Nations Disengagement Force were restricted movements by an unverified group in Golan Heights located in the middle of Syria and Israel. Western two thirds of this region are currently occupied by Israel, whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria.

Zagala added that the Filipino troops will not give in.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “We are dealing with non-state armed actors. The command and control of these groups is unclear. We’re not in a position to confirm who is holding whom. Some groups self-identified as being affiliated with al-Nusra, however, we are unable to confirm it.”

UN confirmed that 43 peacekeepers from Fiji are detained by the said group. UN Security council demands for “unconditional and immediate release of all the detained United Nations peacekeepers and called upon all parties to cooperate with UNDOF in good faith to enable it to operate freely and to ensure full security of its personnel.”

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