Philippines says Syrian rebels firm on hostage demands
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Friday that rebels who are holding 21 Filipino peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are insisting Syrian troops leave the area before releasing their captives.
The refusal by the Syrian rebels to compromise had dampened hopes of the UN peacekeepers being released quickly, and forced the government to step up its negotiation efforts, foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said.
"The demand of the rebels for the re-positioning of Syrian forces in the area of Jamla is still outstanding so this is still being worked out," he said on ABS-CBN television.
The rebels want the Syrian troops to move 20 km back from Jamla, an area in the Golan's ceasefire zone, before they will free the Filipinos, he said.