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Philippine peacekeepers rescued from militants in Golan - U.N.

 

EIN ZIVAN Golan Heights Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:20pm BST

(Reuters) - Thirty-two U.N. peacekeepers were rescued from Islamist militants who had fired on their post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Saturday, the United Nations said.

 

Another group of U.N. soldiers - also from the Philippines - remained trapped by the Islamists who surrounded their positions on Thursday, and a gun battle was ongoing, the U.N. press office said.

 

The troops are part of UNDOF, a U.N. force that has monitored the disengagement zone between Israel and Syria since

1974, after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

 

A Reuters cameraman spotted 11 U.N. armoured vehicles returning to their base in Israeli-controlled territory about 12 hours after the peacekeepers came under fire at around 6 a.m. (0500 BST) on Saturday.

 

"All 32 Filipino personnel from this position have been extricated and are now safe," the United Nations press office said in a statement issued in New York.

 

The remaining troops, at a separate border post, were still under mortar and heavy machine gun fire, the statement said.

 

"The U.N. peacekeepers returned fire and prevented the attackers from entering the position," it said. Officials in the Philippines have said there were a total of 72 soldiers trapped in the area.

 

Another 44 UNDOF peacekeepers, from Fiji, were detained by militants 8 km (5 miles) away from the Philippine troops on Thursday and remain missing.

 

UNDOF has 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries operating in the zone.

 

The Golan is a strategic plateau captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War, and Syria and Israel technically remain at war. UNDOF monitors the area of separation, a narrow strip of land running about 70 km (45 miles) from Mount Hermon on the Lebanese border to the Yarmouk River frontier with Jordan.

 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/30/uk-syria-crisis-philippines-idUKKBN0GU07K20140830

 

The rescue force was reportedly Irish.

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(Reuters) - Thirty-two U.N. peacekeepers were rescued from Islamist militants who had fired on their post on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Saturday, the United Nations said.

 

This is new. Till now, if someone fired through this border, he drawn an Israeli strike against Syrian government troops.

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http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140831/NEWS08/308310027?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 

 


At one point, Syrian government forces fired artillery rounds from a distance to prevent the Filipino peacekeepers from being overwhelmed, said Col. Roberto Ancan, a Philippine military official who helped monitor the tense standoff from the Philippine capital, Manila, and mobilize support for the besieged troops.

 

“Although they were surrounded and outnumbered, they held their ground for seven hours,” Philippine military chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said, adding that there were no Filipino casualties. “We commend our soldiers for exhibiting resolve even while under heavy fire.”

 

As night fell and a cease-fire took hold, the 40 Filipinos fled with their weapons, traveling across the chilly hills for nearly two hours before meeting up with other U.N. forces, who escorted them to safety early Sunday, Philippine officials said.

 

“We may call it the greatest escape,” Catapang told reporters in Manila.

 

I reckon there is more to this than being reported, of course.

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Another report on that:

 

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/377130/pinoyabroad/news/greatest-escape-pinoy-peacekeepers-rescued-after-7-hr-clash-with-syrian-rebs

 

Interesting quote:

 

 

 

"Currently, Filipino peacekeepers from both Position 68 and 69 have successfully repositioned to Camp Ziuoani," he said.

 

Ah yes, the experience with fighting the MILF pays off... :lol:

 

Knowing Filipinos, I reckon it did not escape the minds of those troops when they were placed in Position 69. They figured they were in a fucked up place. :D

 

"The Battle of Position 69 goes down in history as one of those fucked up situations where rebels went in and troops successfully came out." ^_^

Ok ok I'm sorry, I just had to.... hehehehe

Edited by TomasCTT
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Another report on that:

 

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/377130/pinoyabroad/news/greatest-escape-pinoy-peacekeepers-rescued-after-7-hr-clash-with-syrian-rebs

 

Interesting quote:

 

 

 

"Currently, Filipino peacekeepers from both Position 68 and 69 have successfully repositioned to Camp Ziuoani," he said.

 

Ah yes, the experience with fighting the MILF pays off... :lol:

 

Knowing Filipinos, I reckon it did not escape the minds of those troops when they were placed in Position 69. They figured they were in a fucked up place. :D

 

"The Battle of Position 69 goes down in history as one of those fucked up situations where rebels went in and troops successfully came out." ^_^

 

Ok ok I'm sorry, I just had to.... hehehehe

Something going down there, man.

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Al-Nusra logic: take hostages to be removed from terrorist status.

 

Al-Nusra Demands Removal from Terror List in Exchange for UN Fiji Soldiers

Islamist Syrian rebels also demand humanitarian aid and compensation for dead fighters
Gianluca Mezzofiore By Gianluca Mezzofiore
September 2, 2014 11:08 BST
An al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group that kidnapped 45 Fijian United Nations peacekeepers on the Golan Heights has demanded removal from the global terrorism list, humanitarian aid and compensation for three militants killed in a shootout in return for the troops.
The al-Nusra Front, one of the most powerful Islamist factions fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's troops in Syria, is holding the Fijian soldiers in an unknown location.
Its militants also surrounded two Filipino units serving in the UN mission that is deployed in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria. The siege of the 70 Filipinos lasted two days, before the UN personnel reached safety.
Fiji's Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said a UN team has been sent to Syria to negotiate the captives' release.
"The rebels are not telling us where the troops are, but they continue to reassure us they are being well-looked after," Tikoitoga told media in Fiji's capital Suva. "They also told us they are ensuring that they are taken out of battle areas."
Al-Nusra published a statement online with the pictures of the Fijians along with 45 identification cards. The group said the men were "in a safe place and in good health", and accused the UN of doing nothing to help the Syrian rebels in their uprising against Assad.
Al-Nusra demands action from UN
It said the Fijians were seized in retaliation for the UN ignoring "the daily shedding of the Muslims' blood in Syria" and even colluding with Assad's army "to facilitate its movement to strike the vulnerable Muslims", according to AP.
According to Tikoitoga, al-Nusra asked for compensation for three fighters killed in clashes with the UN unit, humanitarian aid to the people of Ruta, near Damascus, and for the group to be removed from the UN's blacklist of terrorist organisations.
"We've been assured by UN headquarters that the UN will bring all its resources to bear to ensure the safe return of our soldiers," the Fijian army chief said.
The al-Nusra Front describes itself as a consisting of Sunni Muslims, who are dedicated to overthrowing Assad's regime and creating a Caliphate across all Arab countries.
During Syria's civil war the organisation uses tactics associated with terrorists, including car bomb and suicide bomb attacks, and beheadings. In 2012 the US accused al-Nusra of being a partner of Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq later confirmed this as accurate.

 

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/al-nusra-demands-removal-terror-list-exchange-un-fiji-soldiers-1463577

Edited by BansheeOne
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Carrying out terrorist acts in a bid to be removed from terrorist status? Can't argue with that logic...

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If this goes badly forget the more developed nations from offering up troops and even if they go, it will be with much more robust forces, ammo loads and more aggressive ROE's

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Those rebels are asking for it. Soon, the UN will unleash...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A STRONGLY WORDED CONDEMNATION!

 

 

 

 

That's, like, ten degrees more serious than a mere condemnation. The horrors!

 

:lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Al Jazeera says U.N. peacekeepers released in Golan

DUBAI Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:09am BST
(Reuters) - Al Jazeera television said on Thursday the al Qaeda-backed Nusra Front group released U.N. peacekeepers it seized two weeks ago on the Golan Heights.
The group on Wednesday posted a video on its Twitter and YouTube accounts in which the hostages, from the South Pacific nation of Fiji, said they expected to be freed soon.
The head of Fiji's army said on Wednesday the Islamist militant group had dropped all of its demands to free the 45 hostages, but at least slightly back-pedalled later in the day as the situation appeared to deteriorate.
It was unclear whether the video, carried by the SITE monitoring service, was made before or after the confusion surrounding those comments, but a U.N. source earlier told Reuters that the militants had insisted on such a video as a condition for the peacekeepers' release.
“By the way, we are all safe and alive, and we thank Jabhat al-Nusra for keeping us safe and keeping us alive. I'd like to assure you that we have not been harmed in any way," one hostage, who was not identified, said, using the Nusra Front's full name.
"We understand that with the limited resources that they have, they have provided the best for us and we truly appreciate it and we thank them. We are thankful that Jabhat al-Nusra has kept its word and that we will be going home."
Syria's three-year civil war reached the frontier with Israeli-controlled territory last month when Islamist fighters overran a crossing point in the line that has separated Israelis from Syrians in the Golan Heights since a 1973 war.
The fighters then turned on the U.N. blue helmets from a peacekeeping force that has patrolled the ceasefire line for 40 years. After the Fijians were captured, more than 70 Filipinos spent two days besieged at two locations before reaching safety.
[...]

 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/11/uk-syria-crisis-fiji-idUKKBN0H60CP20140911

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Oops

 

Moderate and Islamist rebel groups in a Damascus suburb in Syria signed a “non-aggression” agreement with the Islamic State (ISIS), a Syrian monitoring group said. Some of the brigades are part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front but have now agreed to a truce in Hajar al-Assad with ISIS
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Oops

 

Moderate and Islamist rebel groups in a Damascus suburb in Syria signed a “non-aggression” agreement with the Islamic State (ISIS), a Syrian monitoring group said. Some of the brigades are part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front but have now agreed to a truce in Hajar al-Assad with ISIS

 

 

I wouldn't put money on that agreement, the claim that the sides to it represent IS and/or any "moderate" side to the conflict (The claim that IS would bother to "sign" non-aggression agreements does not seem to reflect what has been going on so far). I would put money, OTOH that this so called "agreement" will serve as an argument against coalition involvement in Syria, which happens to be the weakest spot in this shaky coalition, while the same news item in Arabic will be translated to a "co-operation agreement".
IS have been managing a carefully planned media campaign.. You wouldn't think they'd stop because Sec. Kerry is wandering in circles all over the ME attempting to establish a minimal common grounds for such coalition's real action.
Edited by DADI
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