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Twenty-one Filipino peacekeepers taken prisoner by Syrian opposition forces in the Golan Heights should be immediately released, the Philippine government said on Thursday.
The peacekeepers, part of the Philippines' 300-member contingent there, were on a logistics run on Wednesday when their vehicles were blocked by about 30 Syrian rebels in the southern province of Daraa, said Colonel Arnulfo Burgos, a Philippine military spokesman.
“We are hopeful that they will be released soon,” Burgos said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said all the Filipinos were reported to be unharmed and negotiations were under way to secure their safe release.
“The main concern of the Philippine government at this time is to ensure the safety and well-being of our peacekeepers,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
The troops arrived in November to join peacekeepers enforcing a ceasefire that ended the 1973 Yom Kippur War.- Sapa-dpa