43 UN peacekeepers captured by Syrian militants, 81 Filipino troops held their ground
Posted in dwdd.com.ph
Forty Three (43) peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage near the Quneitra crossing, but 81 Filipino held their ground and refused to disarm, the Filipino defense department said.
The 81 Filipino troops were locked in a standoff near Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah, while the Fijian soldiers were taken to the southern part of the buffer zone, UN officials said.
As of July, UNDOF has 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.
The Philippines, which has 331 troops serving in UNDOF, announced on Saturday that it will pull out of the peace force, citing security concerns.
Filipino defense officials said no fresh troops would be sent to serve in UNDOF once the current soldiers return from duty in October.
Twice last year UN peacekeepers were detained and safely released, noted UN officials, adding “the United Nations is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers and to restore the full freedom of movement of the force throughout its area of operation.”