Filipinos in Golan standoff refuse to surrender arms
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2014 - 11:38am

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino United Nations peacekeepers locked in a standoff in Golan Heights refused to surrender their weapons even as the Syrian anti-government armed elements demanded them to do so.

The Armed Forces said Friday that the 75 Filipino peacekeepers' encampments were surrounded by the Syrian rebels Thursday night. The Filipino contingent, however, refused to cooperate.

The military said in a press conference that the Filipino troops carried M4 assault rifles, M60 light machine guns, semi-automatic guns and caliber .45 pistols

Earlier, an undisclosed number of Syrian rebels occupied the positions of 43 Fijian peacekeepers of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in Goldan Heights.

They were asked to hand over their firearms and were taken hostage.

Members of the Philippine contingent, however, "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," the armed forces said.

The rebels are estimated to be a kilometer away from the position of the Filipino peacekeepers and  no direct engagement has been reported.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesman of the Armed Forces, said the Filipino peacekeepers are "doing fine" and their families in the Philippines are given regular updates on their situation.

Zagala said that the Philippines is coordinating with the UN on the incident to ensure the safety of the trapped troops.

ARMED FORCES FILIPINO FILIPINO UNITED NATIONS GOLAN HEIGHTS GOLDAN HEIGHTS MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE PEACEKEEPERS RAMON ZAGALA UNITED NATIONS DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE ZAGALA
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