It’s been revealed that 40 UN peacekeepers made a daring escape under the cover of night after being held siege by Syrian Islamist militants for two days.
The Filipino troops, who are based in the Golan Heights UN buffer zone, had been engaged in a seven hour gun battle on Saturday from around 100 militants after they refused to surrender with their weapons.
Then, while the rebels were sleeping, the 40 men fled from the UN encampment, travelling across the hills for nearly two hours, before meeting up with other UN forces who took them to safety.
General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said: “Currently, Filipino peacekeepers from both positions 68 and 69 have been successfully repositioned to Camp Ziouani. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United Nations will not compromise the safety and security of our troops while in the pursuit of their duties.”
Capatang added “we may call it the greatest escape.”
A UN official said they were helped by Israeli and Syrian governments, with Syrian government forces firing at the rebels to weaken their positions.
On Saturday, 32 other Filipino peacekeepers had been rescued from a different base with the help of Irish UN troops. Forty-four Fijian soldiers still remain in the hands of the insurgents.