Skip to main content

Four Filipino peacekeepers in Syria released

From Neda Farshbaf, CNN
updated 8:10 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
UN peacekeepers, including Filipinos, cross the Quneitra checkpoint between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights on March 07, 2013.
UN peacekeepers, including Filipinos, cross the Quneitra checkpoint between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights on March 07, 2013.
  • The four had been held nearly a week after being seized by armed men
  • State of their health is unclear after captivity
  • They are part of force that monitors the area between Syria and Golan Heights

(CNN) -- Four U.N. peacekeepers were released Sunday, five days after they were seized by armed men while patrolling between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an army official from the Philippines said.

Maj. Ramon Zagala, a spokesman for the Philippine Armed Forces, said the Filipino peacekeepers were with the commander of that country's troops in the Golan Heights.

"Last week was a challenge and we are very thankful for their safe release," Zagala said.

He said he could not provide an update on their health. They will return to Camp Ziouani, where doctors will examine them.

Syria-Turkey border tensions flare
Possible solutions to Syria war
Syria's internally displaced

According to the U.N. news website, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement thanking the government of Qatar for its role in the safe release of the hostages.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force monitors the area in accordance with the 1974 agreement between Syria and Israel negotiated after the Yom Kippur War.

In March, 22 peacekeepers were held for four days by rebels. The U.N. called on Syrian and rebel troops at that time to honor the impartiality of the U.N. troops.

Tensions in the area have been heightened recently and Israel conducted strikes against Syria twice.

The attacks, confirmed by a U.S. official last week, targeted a weapons storage site containing missiles and a Damascus research facility. The official stressed that Israel is concerned about Syria transferring weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 5:19 PM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
updated 6:19 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
updated 10:37 AM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.