A picture taken from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights shows armed men, reportedly rebel fighters, standing in the Syrian side of the Golan, at the Quneitra border crossing, on August 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
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The plight of dozens of U.N. peacekeepers in Syria remained "very, very fluid" Friday, the secretary-general's spokesman said, as talks aimed at their release stretched into a second day.Seventy-five besieged Filipino members of the UNDOF peacekeeping force were prepared to use "deadly force" to defend themselves, their commander in Manila said. The standoff came as Syrian government forces pounded the Damascus neighborhood of Jobar with 17 airstrikes and were advancing in the area against Nusra Front jihadists and their Islamist militia allies, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based, anti-regime monitoring group. The U.N. initially said 81 Filipinos were involved in the standoff, but Ancan said there were 75 .According to the Observatory, Nusra was holding the peacekeepers because they had given shelter to regime soldiers, and they had discovered the corpses of two insurgents at the U.N. facility.
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