Filipino Peacekeepers Stand Ground Amid Threat
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City—Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights are in a stand-off with Syrian rebels as the latter tried to storm their positions at around 10 a.m. (Syria time) August 28.
Earlier, said rebels occupied the position of Fiji nationals under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan Heights. The rebels demanded their firearms and later took 43 Fijians as hostages.
The Syrian rebels also surrounded the encampments of the Philippine contingent. Our peacekeepers are holding their ground to defend their positions.
This resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation in the disengagement area supervised by UNDOF. The Philippine government and UN officials are already trying to peacefully resolve the situation. Potential for the de-escalation of the situation is still positive.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has already expressed its concern for the safety of Filipino soldiers, as well as the hostaged Fijian peacekeepers in Golan Heights.
Our soldiers are prepared, trained, and capable of dealing with these situations and will take risks to fulfil our commitment to international security and peace. The peacekeeping contingent has the right to defend its positions and their units in line with UN protocols and rules of engagement.
The AFP and the Department of National Defense are closely coordinating with UNDOF on the matter. We are in direct communication with our peacekeepers and with the UN Force Headquarters in the Golan Heights as options and contingency plans are being drawn 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.
All actions of the Philippine contingent will be in accordance to their mission under the UNDOF that supervises the area of separation between Syria and Israel in line with the Disengagement Agreement of 1974.
We have a standing commitment to UN and will abide by this until otherwise directed by our higher government authorities.
We will exert all efforts to ensure the safety and security of our peacekeepers. The families of our soldiers are already aware of the situation and are in close coordination with our peacekeeping office.