Monday, March 11, 2013

Release of 21 Filipino peacekeepers seized by Syrian gunmen

The Philippines on Sunday welcomed the release of 21 Filipino peacekeepers seized by Syrian gunmen last week and renewed calls to respect freedom of movement, safety and security of United Nations (UN) peace troops.

A Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) statement said: "The Philippine Government and its people express deep appreciation to the Jordanian Government and military officials on the successful safe passing over to the Jordanian side of all our 21 Filipino Peacekeepers."

It also thanked those who have exerted and contributed to the collective efforts to effect the safe release of the Filipinos who are members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

The Filipinos, who are part of the UN mission monitoring the armistice line in Golan Heights between Syria and Israel following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, were seized by rebels on March 6 in Al-Jamla.

The abduction drew condemnation from the UN and foreign governments.

There are 333 Filipino military and police contingent in Golan Heights.

DFA said the Philippines, stresses the impartiality of UNDOF and its mandate to monitor the Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria as it strongly reiterated its call on all parties to respect the freedom of movement and safety and security of peacekeepers there.

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