Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force drive their armoured vehicles in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights near the Qunaitra crossing, the only border crossing between Israel and Syria, on August 30, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
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Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape after being surrounded and coming under fire by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights, the Philippine military chief said Sunday, while 44 Fijian troops remained in the hands of the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.After coming under rebel attack Saturday, the first group of 35 Filipino peacekeepers was successfully escorted out of a U.N. encampment in Breiqa by Irish and Filipino forces on board armored vehicles, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang and other military officials said.Syrian government forces fired artillery rounds from a distance at one point to prevent the Filipino peacekeepers from being overwhelmed, said Col. Roberto Ancan, a Philippine military official who helped monitor the tense Golan standoff from the Philippine capital, Manila, and mobilize support for the besieged troops.The 40 Filipinos fled with their weapons from the Rwihana encampment under cover darkness overnight, traveling across the chilly hills for nearly two hours, before meeting up with other U.N. forces, which escorted them to safety early Sunday, Philippine officials said.
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