Filipino peacekeepers won’t surrender weapons--military | Global News

Filipino peacekeepers won’t surrender weapons–military


MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday that the 75, not 81 as reported, Filipino peacekeepers in an ongoing standoff with Syrian rebels in Golan Heights would remain in their position and won’t surrender their weapons to the Syrian rebels, a spokesman said Friday.


AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala. Noy Morcoso lll/ PHOTO

Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagalasaid that the Filipino peacekeepers were not negotiating with the Syrian armed elements and were in close coordination with the United Nations.


The AFP public affairs chief also assured that the Filipino peacekeepers were safe.

“We are still firm in our position. Hindi natin binibigay ang ating armas. Present pa rin ang mga Syrian government armed elements pero ang ating gobyerno and ang United Nations is in close coordination para mabigyan ng payapang solusyon itong misyon na ito,” Zagala said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.

(We are still firm in our position. We will not surrender our weapons. The Syrian government armed elements are still present but our government and the United Nations are in close coordination with each other to ensure a peaceful resolution to this mission.)

“If we will surrender our firearms, the more we will put our troops in danger,” he said in a separate interview at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

In case of a clash with the Syrian armed forces, Zagala said that the Filipino peacekeepers would defend themselves.

“We have our right to defend ourselves if attacked. Kasama na rin ‘yan sa response kung ito’y mangyayari. Meron tayong rules of engagement. As peacekeepers, hindi dapat natin ito gagawin unless ma-threaten ang ating soldiers,” Zagala said.


(We have our right to defend ourselves if attacked, that has been part of our response. We have rules of engagement. As peacekeepers, we will not do this [attack] unless our soldiers are threatened.)

The rebels tried to storm the Philippine position around 3:00 a.m. August 28, but the Filipino troops refused to surrender their firearms.

Colonel Roberto Angcan of the AFP said that 40 Filipinos were in camp 68 while 35 were in camp 69, four kilometers away.

Major General Domingo Tutaan said the Philippine government and UN officials were trying to peacefully resolve the situation.

“Potential for the de-escalation of the situation is still positive,” he said.

The military official said the Filipino peacekeepers were prepared, trained, and capable in dealing such situation.

“Our soldiers will take risks to fulfil our commitment to international security and peace,” he said.

The AFP, according to him, are in direct communication with the UN and Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights as options and contingency plans were being drawn up and considered.

“The safety and security of our peacekeepers remain to be our paramount concern as they remain steadfast on their commitment to their mission,” he said.

“The families of our soldiers are already aware of the situation and are in close coordination with our peacekeeping office,” he said.

Zagala said there were 346 Filipino troops in war-torn Syria, 332 peacekeepers and 14 deployed as United Nations Disengagement Force.

He, however, did not divulge the actual Filipino troops involved in the standoff due to “operational security.”

The Syrian rebels earlier on Thursday captured 43 Fijian peacekeepers in Golan Heights, and proceeded to capture Filipino troops, who resisted, which resulted into a standoff.


81 Filipino peacekeepers in standoff with Syrian rebels ‘doing fine’

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UN confirms 43 UN peacekeepers seized in Syrian Golan


TAGS: AFP, Golan Heights, ISIS, peacekeepers, Ramon Zagala, United Nation

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