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75 Philippine UN peacekeepers defy Syria rebels in Golan Heights standoff

Published on Aug 29, 2014 1:45 PM

MANILA (AFP) - Dozens of heavily armed Philippine peacekeepers defied Syrian rebels on Friday in a Golan Heights standoff, hours after the fighters took hostage 43 Fijian soldiers there, the Filipinos' commander said.

Seventy-five Filipino troops were defending two fortified posts in the UN-patrolled zone after armed groups surrounded them on Thursday and demanded they give up their weapons, Colonel Roberto Ancan told reporters in Manila.

Ancan, the commander of the Philippines' peacekeeping operations division, said no shots had been fired during the standoff, but that his troops were prepared to engage in combat.

"We can use deadly force in defence of the UN facilities," Ancan said. "I (would) just like to emphasise our troops are well-armed, they are well-trained... they are well-disciplined warrior peacekeepers."

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