posted at 05:51
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Filipino UN peacekeepers in Golan clash with Syrian rebels: govt
He said in an SMS statement to reporters that the Filipino troops had been "Extricated" from one of their two positions but added that another group of Filipino soldiers "Is now under attack". He was referring to two positions on the Golan Heights where more than 70 Filipino troops had previously been surrounded by Syrian rebels. He said the clash took place at "6am, Syria time," but added that "Morale is high" among the troops. "All our troops are safe," he said, adding that the defence minister and head of the military were monitoring developments. Earlier Saturday, a spokeswoman for President Benigno Aquino said he was "Keeping a close watch" on the fate of the troops who were serving as part of the peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights. The Philippine military earlier said there were 75 besieged troops but the UN later said there were only 72. The head of Filipino troops on UN missions Colonel Roberto Ancan said in Manila on Friday that "We can use deadly force in defence of the UN facilities". Syrian rebels, including fighters from the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, stormed a Golan Heights crossing on Wednesday, sparking an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.

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