Syrian Rebels have surrounded two military camps of the Philippine peacekeeping force deployed at Golan Heights in the southern part of that country. The rebels are asking the UN Peace Keeping force to surrender their fire arms and other military supplies.
The standoff started on Thursday when the Syrian Anti-Government Armed Elements (AGAE) took 43 Fijian United Nations (UN) peacekeepers as hostages. The Fijian peace keepers had no other option but to surrender their arms to the rebels. The Syrian Rebels, who are fighting a bitter civil war, proceeded to encircle two military bases, known as positions 68 and 69 along with the hostages. The rebel army is asking the Filipino Troops to surrender their weapons which they have refused till now.
Syrian Rebels are not using the Fijian hostages to force the Filipino UN peacekeepers surrender and lay down their arms, military officials at the AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) said.
BusinessWorld, DND spokesperson Peter Paul Ruben G. Galvez and AFP Public Affairs Chief Lt. Col. Ramon P. Zagala have both confirmed that the Syrian Rebels have not put any conditions though the DND Usec Major General Natalio C. Ecarma III,had stated that an ultimatum has been issued by the rebels but gave no further details about the timeline or the demands .
The Philippine troops in Golan Heights are ready to hold their ground and defend themselves from the Syria Rebel army.
AFP Col Roberto T. Ancan, commander of the AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center said, “They have M4 assault rifles, M60 light machineguns, K3 squad automatic weapons and caliber.45 pistols, as well as sufficient ammunition to defend themselves,”
Mr. Ancan further added that the 75 well-armed Filipino troops occupying the military camps-40 troops in Position 68 and 35 troops in Position 69 are well-dug in to withstand the siege.
The UNDOF is an armed force mandated by the UN to oversee the areas of separation and limitation in the Israeli-Syrian sector.