posted at 18:50
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32 Filipino peacekeepers evacuated, others under attack: UN
The statement said another position was also attacked by "Armed elements" with mortar and heavy machine gun fire and that the peacekeepers returned fire and prevented the attackers from entering. UN chief Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the attack on UN peacekeepers, by non-state actors he said included the Al-Nusra Front, Ban's spokesperson said. Ban called for the immediate release of peacekeepers who had been detained, a call echoed later Saturday by a Security Council resolution. "We are still working towards the safe release of the detained 44 Fijian peacekeepers," it added. In Manila, Philippines Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin said UN peacekeepers had clashed with Syrian rebels. The peacekeepers were besieged by rebels Thursday but defied demands that they give up their weapons. Rebels, including some linked to Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, Al-Nusra Front, also took hostage 44 Fijian peacekeepers, the UN has said. There are currently 1,200 peacekeepers serving in UNDOF from the Philippines, Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal and the Netherlands.

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