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4 Filipino UN peacekeepers seized in Golan Heights

UNITED NATIONS — An armed group on Tuesday abducted four UN peacekeepers from the Philippines in the Golan Heights, which has been hit by mounting spillover from the Syrian civil war, the United Nations said.

The four were patrolling near the Al Jamlah locality in the ceasefire zone between Israel and Syria where 21 Filipino peacekeepers were seized by Syrian rebels in March, said a UN peacekeeping spokeswoman, Josephine Guerrero.

“An unknown armed group” took the men, Guerrero told AFP. “Efforts are underway to secure their release.”

In a posting on their Facebook page, the “Yarmuk Martyrs Brigade” rebel group said they had taken the four peacekeepers for their own safety because of fierce fighting in the area.

“The leadership of the Yarmuk Martyrs Brigade announces… an operation to secure and protect United Nations forces in Wadi Yarmuk in the area between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights,” the group said.

The posting showed a photograph of four men in blue flak jackets, with three of them marked “UN” and “Philippines.”

The statement said shelling by regime troops and fighting in the area “seriously threatened the safety” of the peacekeepers and had prompted the fighters to “intervene and work to get them out.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog confirmed there was heavy fighting underway in the area.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has been in the Golan Heights since 1974, has about 1,000 troops and civilian staff.

The 917 troops from Austria, India, the Philippines, Morocco and Moldova carry only very light arms.

The United Nations sent extra armored personnel carriers, ambulances and other security equipment to the force after the March 6-9 abduction.

The ceasefire line has seen increased hostilities from the two-year-old Syrian war, with shells from the Syrian side falling onto Israeli territory and the Israeli military firing back.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon said in a report in March that there had been “continued, often intense, clashes between the Syrian armed forces and armed members of the opposition” in the ceasefire zone.

UNDOF peacekeepers had also “observed and reported instances of continued transborder movements of unidentified individuals, some of them armed” between Lebanon and Syria in the northern part of the ceasefire zone,” the report added.

Israel, which is technically at war with Syria, has occupied 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Originally posted: 10:44 pm | Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

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Tags: Conflict , Global Nation , Golan Heights , Syria , United Nations

  • $18209031

    Ransom na naman ito . Back to square one like what happened months ago.

  • rlo

    They should be giver permission to fire. This is getting embarrassing for the AFP. It would seem to the rest of the world that the AFP can’t fight. This was a foot patrol right. So they should be armed.

  • $18209031

    Nagpapakidnap mga ito para makapera. Ginawang negosyo…

  • Vertumnus

    Again?! This just happened a few weeks ago. Just exactly what kind of training are they giving Filipino UN peacekeepers to keep getting abducted? Weren’t they armed and allowed to use deadly force against potential danger? Seems the peacekeepers needs peacekeeping!

    • rlo

      I think it’s more about the rules of engagement. We don’t really know under what circumstances this abduction happened. You could hypothesize that it was a sort of planned ambush with the use of a megaphone.

    • rem1911

      They were trained and provided equipment by the UN before they were sent, they are are “Peace Keepers” and they have strict rules of engagement.

      • Vertumnus

        Is getting abducted part of that training? What’s the purpose of having a gun if you can’t even use it to protect yourself. Such is the weakness of UN peacekeeping troops.

  • $18209031

    That place is a free fire zone. Its a lawless situation. Pinasukan narin ng mga Judeos by attacking Syria. Kaya lumalaki na ito from civil war to regional war, and what not.

    • rlo

      Free Fire Zone? The area they were patrolling? Do you know where the Golan is?

  • jeff justice

    well…of course. Sino pa ba ang kaya nilang bihagin…eh di mga pinoy!

    parang meron pang iba noh?

    • $18209031

      Strike anywhere ang mga Pinos. Basta meyrong trabaho , nandyan ang Pinos.

  • Adam_d_langgam

    huwag kayong mag-alala. kayang kaya ni simeon ‘yan. ano pa ke nasa 100 daw na influential person according sa time magazine. oorder lang si simeon na pakawalan, ayos na ‘yan. nanginginig sa takot ang mga kidnapper pa si simeon nagsalita.

    he he eh .. nanginginig sa tawa.

    • Yxon

      dilaw ka sa jeling ah….

  • gibo772000

    Titigas ng ulo ng mga Pilipino nato. Sabing wag na pumunta doon. Cge padin. Ang alam ko ang UN hindi na nila pinapa punta ang mga peacekeepers doon.

    • rem1911

      They were part of the UN peacekeeping mission, in other words UN ang may command and control sa kanila. Ibig sabihin pinapunta sila doon ng UN para mag patrol at monitor. Kung walang order ang UN hindi sila gagalaw. Please wag mag marunong..

      • Yxon

        that’s it

  • randyaltarejos

    They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why? Because of dollars?

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