Philippines urges Syrian rebels to release troops
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines called on Thursday for the immediate release of 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers taken hostage by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights ceasefire zone.
The soldiers, part of a 300-strong Filipino peacekeeping unit, were detained at a rebel observation point on Wednesday by rebels who said the troops would be held until Syrian regime forces pulled back from a Golan village.
"The Philippine government is calling for the immediate release of 21 Filipino peacekeepers who are part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights," the foreign affairs department said.
In a statement, the department said that all the hostages were reported to be unharmed and negotiations were under way to secure their safe release.