Philippine makes contingency plans for trapped peacekeepers at Golan Heights

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 30, 2014
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The Philippine government said on Saturday that the country has put in place contingency plans for the 75 Filipino peacekeepers trapped at a standoff at Golan Heights with Syrian rebels.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has put in place contingency plans, said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in an interview at a state-run radio station.

"We would leave it to the AFP to speak on the possible next steps," she said while expressing hope that "the tension will ease and that they will be brought home safely."

The Syrian rebels surrounded the camp of Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights on Thursday, demanding the troops to surrender their weapons.

The Filipino peacekeepers however refused, resulting in a standoff with the rebels.

Earlier, the rebels occupied the camp of 43 Fiji peacekeepers, and demanded that they surrender their firearms, and then took them as hostages.

Valte said that President Benigno Aquino III was being briefed round the clock regarding the situation of the Filipino contingent.

Asked if the government would immediately pullout the Filipino troops from Golan Heights the moment the standoff was resolved, she said that the present situation was being taken into consideration.

However, she noted that it was really the decision of the Philippine government to withdraw all of its 331 peacekeeping forces in Golan Heights in October when their tour of duty ends in the wake of the deteriorating security situation in the area. Endi

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