Philippines to keep its UN forces in Golan Heights

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DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines said Thursday it would keep its contingent of United Nations peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, after Syrian rebels held 21 of them hostage for three days last week.

“The Philippine contingent to the UNDOF (UN Disengagement Observer Force) would remain stationed in the Golan Heights to perform its obligation in the name of peace,” foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters.

“The Philippines, as a founding member of the UN, remains fully committed to the UN mandate of promoting peace and security.”

The UNDOF has been in the Golan Heights since 1974, monitoring a ceasefire between Syria and Israel.

But senior UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday there were fears there that Syria’s civil war could spark new withdrawals from the peacekeeping force.

The force of less than 1,000 troops comprises troops from the Philippines, Austria and India.

There are more than 300 Filipinos in the force.

Previously the force also included soldiers from Canada, Japan and Croatia.

The UN has recently cut peacekeeper patrols and closed down some observation points at the Golan Heights ceasefire zone amid the fresh turmoil there, the diplomats said on Wednesday.

The UN has complained to the Syrian government about incursions by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces into the Golan zone and about rebels who have built up their presence.

Shots were fired at one observation post after the Filipino peacekeepers were freed last Saturday.

The UN peacekeeping spokesman, Kieran Dwyer, acknowledged the growing concerns on Wednesday and said changes to the force were started several months ago. However he gave no details.

Philippine military spokesman Arnulfo Burgos told AFP that the 21 peacekeepers who were abducted last week would likely go back on patrol soon.

“The 21 peacekeepers have finished their stress debriefing and there are no (adverse) findings,” Burgos said.

“They are continuing with their medical exams and by all indications, by next week, they might be on full duty status.”

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  • JOSE RIZAL

    i see a man sitting with the national symbol and flag at the background. may i ask if you truly represent our ideals and interests? are you deserving to bask in the sanctity of those national symbols? are you a patriot? i hope you really are.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WC2VPZRJETRO5KOU4VOZCJXEDY Tamarindwalk

      Actually, by backing Israel’s continued occupation of Golan, we are actually saying that it is okay for one country to occupy another country’s territory – such as Malaysia occupying Sabah.
      All occupied territories should be returned to their rightful owners – be they occupied by Israel or Malaysia.

      • Jun Canada

        To dffrent cases

        Arab initiated the wars but lost thats how Israel gain territory

        Malaysia don’t want to pay rental/padjak to the Sultanate of Sulu the rightful owner of Sabah, instead Malaysia is now claiming it, a land grab/theives.

        Malaysian land thieves … return Sabah to the Sultanate of Sulu

        Israel offer to return Golan to Syria in return for Peace, unfortunately Syria refused. Israel offered the return 3 times…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KZH4F63CRHKPDZSVIPVIIJAEHI vf l

    The Philippines who should be spending money on its people is sending peacekeepers to Syria as agents of America!……….that is why they were released!..lucky them!

    • Jun Canada

      They went there as Peacekeepers. But unfortunately were abducted by Syrian rebels. They were released coz there are more Syrian civilians to kill

      Muslim vs Muslim in Syria (Hukm Al TaTarrus in your Quran like in Pakistan, Iraq, etc)

  • tausog sulu

    paano maging peace keaper yan baka taga bantay ang mga boyset ng tupa yan sa golan …sus anong klase na peace keaper yan … rebelde lang katapat.. ala….

  • titolim

    huwag na man natin silang laitin kung lumaban sila sa rebelde hindi na mga peacekeeper ang tawag sa kanila.

  • $18209031

    THey need to go to Sabah to oversee how these Malayo Bhumiputras treat our Tausug People.

  • Jun Canada

    2 DakuAkongUtin
    Na Supot

    Manood na lang tayo Muslim laban Muslim
    Syria, Pakistan Sabah
    Alam mo ba tawag diyan Hukn Al Tatarrus sa Quran

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WC2VPZRJETRO5KOU4VOZCJXEDY Tamarindwalk

    The smart thing for us to do would not be to push for Israel’s return of the Golan Heights to its rightful owner, Syria. Israel has illegally occupied the Heights for a number of years and a return to its actual owner should be forced upon Israel.

    • Jun Canada

      Israel offered the return of Golan Heights, three times, in return for PEACE unfortunately Syria refused and don’t want Peace.
      Look whats going on now in Syria, Muslim killing Muslim..
      Muslim a religion of Peace

  • joerizal

    UN force? It’s not a force. They are unarmed water-bearers and cooks serving their white masters. Just go home…

    • Jun Canada

      LOL

      Filipino Col is the current CO of UNDOF..

      When the going gets tough the brave (Di Takot) keeps going..

      Salute to the Peace loving Filipino Soldiers/people
      hey joe remember battle of Yultung Korean War

      • joerizal

        I know what you’re saying. However the fundamental problem is these superpowers can drag the Philippines into their wars (and we’re more than willing to send our troops as target practice, sigh), but we cannot count on them when it’s our turn to ask for their help. Think.

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