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Syrian rebels surround Filipino UN peacekeepers in Golan Heights

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  • __bahay_kubo____bahay_kubo__ Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    PH peacekeepers defied UN order to surrender
    By Cynthia D. Balana
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    5:54 am Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014


    MANILA, Philippines–The 40 Filipino peacekeepers who escaped a massacre on the Golan Heights early on Sunday defied an order from the United Nations ground commander to surrender their firearms, deciding instead to fight the Syrian rebels before fleeing their besieged camp, the military said on Monday.

    Armed Forces of the Philipines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang defended the decision of Capt. Nilo Ramones, the Filipino ground commander, to defy a valid order from the United Nation Disengagement Observer Force (Undof) commander to the peacekeepers to wave the white flag and surrender their weapons while negotiations for the release of 44 captured Fijian peacekeepers were going on.

    Ramones cleared his decision with defense and military officials who were monitoring the crisis from Manila, Catapang said.
    Catapang said the Undof commander gave vague and inconsistent orders to the peacekeepers, prompting Ramones to call Manila for consultations.

    The military chief said Undof’s rules were not clear about the authority of the force’s commander to order peacekeepers to surrender.

    “The Undof commander wanted to save the Fijians at the expense of the Filipino peacekeepers. But it’s not our fault that the Fijians were taken hostage,” Catapang said.

    “What I mean is, our commander [wanted to] save the Filipinos first and then we would help the Fijians later,” he said.
    Catapang said there was no assurance that the Filipino peacekeepers would not end up as hostages, too.

    Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, a former AFP chief of staff, asked the House of Representatives on Monday to investigate the Golan Heights standoff to determine when UN peacekeepers could use force in self-defense.

    “Although the incident turned out well for our peacekeepers, there are matters [that] should be looked into in order to come up with remedial measures or legislation to ensure their safety and security,” Biazon said in introducing House Resolution No. 1429 seeking an inquiry into the standoff in aid of legislation.

    Al-Qaida-linked rebels

    The Syrian rebels, believed to be from the al-Qaida-linked Nustra Front fighting the government of President Bashar Assad of Syria, spilled into the buffer zone between Israel and Syria on Wednesday last week and surrounded Undof Area Position 27 manned by the Fijians on the Syrian side of the armistice line.

    The rebels demanded the peacekeepers surrender their weapons. The Fijians turned in their firearms then were seized by the rebels.

    After seizing the Fijians, the rebels laid siege on Area Position 68, manned by 40 Filipino peacekeepers, and Area Position 69, held by 32 Filipino Blue Helmets on the Syrian side of the UN-controlled zone.

    Standoff with rebels

    The rebels demanded that the Filipinos hand over their weapons, but the peacekeepers refused and stood their ground, triggering a standoff.

    At 6 a.m. on Saturday (noon in Manila), the rebels attacked Area Position 69. With help from Syrian troops and Irish peacekeepers, the Filipinos fought back then fled to safety on the Israeli side of the armistice line.

    The rebels also opened fire on Area Position 68, prompting the Filipinos to return fire. They battled the rebels for seven hours, the military said.

    The rebels called in reinforcements, but Syrian troops gave the Filipinos a hand by firing artillery rounds from a distance to weaken the siege.

    Night fell and the rebels, unable to bear the low nighttime temperatures on the Golan Heights, retired to houses in the area.
    The Filipinos seized the opportunity and slipped out of their camp at midnight carrying their weapons. They reached the Israeli side of the territory at 1:40 a.m. (about 5 a.m. in Manila) on Sunday.

    Less problem for Undof

    Catapang said that by defying the Undof commander, Ramones eased the UN command’s problem by avoiding a second hostage situation involving Philippine troops.

    “For the Nustra Front rebels, weapons are symbolic. I said that for us Filipinos it was our honor that was at stake. I told the Philippine battalion commander that if he liked, he could donate the weapons of the Fijians. There are 400 Fijians there so they have more weapons than us,” Catapang said.

    Catapang said the Philippine troops were asked to explain why they defied a valid order but he also wanted the Undof Force commander to explain his conflicting instructions that compromised the safety of the Filipino soldiers.

    He said it was still “being sorted out” in the United Nations whether what the Philippine contingent did was right or wrong.
    Catapang said that Philippine national policy should prevail over any rules of engagement.

    “I think [our decision was right] because [all of our troops] are safe now,” he said.

    The Filipino peacekeepers are now in Camp Ziouni, the Philippine contingent’s headquarters near the Israeli side of the territory.

    PH standing in UN

    Catapang acknowledged that the Philippine defiance could affect the country’s standing in the United Nations.

    “They have to understand that the safety of our soldiers is of primordial importance. It prevails over and above the Fijian situation,” he said.

    Catapang talked to the Filipino peacekeepers via Skype on Monday and praised them for a job well done and for highlighting the “world-class courage and professionalism” of Filipino troops in the service of global peace.

    Col. Roberto Ancan, chief of the AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center, defended Catapang’s decision, saying that national interest should prevail over the Fijian situation.

    “We can do that because as a member state, we are just loaned by the Undof and with that, we can take orders from our national government, from the capital,” Ancan said.

    Weapons PH property

    He explained that the peacekeepers’ weapons are Philippine government property and they are part of the troops’ uniforms.

    “As peacekeepers, they are duty-bound to defend themselves and [UN] facilities, in that order,” Ancan said.

    He said it was the paramount duty of the commander on the ground to ensure the safety of the peacekeepers.

    Ancan said the contingent’s tour of duty ended in June this year but it was extended up to October this year on the request of Undof.

    President Aquino has ordered the repatriation of the peacekeepers after the end of their tour of duty.

    Ancan said Filipino troops were manning another UN encampment on the Golan Heights, Area Position 80, located at the middle of the southern part of the buffer zone.

    It is believed to be safe, as the camp is near the water gate on the Israeli side of the territory.


    P.S.: nakapatay pa pala ng mga teroristang Syrian ang mga tauhan natin sa Syria pero no casualties on our side. :naughty:
    Fiji says Syrian rebels issue demands for captives
    Associated Press
    Updated September 2, 2014 - 9:35am


    SUVA, Fiji — Fiji's military commander says Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days.

    Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said Tuesday that the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list, wants humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, and wants compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with U.N. officers.

    Tikoitoga says the U.N. has sent hostage negotiators to Syria.

    The Nusra Front abducted the Fijian soldiers Thursday morning and is holding them at an unknown location. The rebels also surrounded two Filipino units serving in the U.N. mission that monitors the buffer zone between Israel and Syria, but the Filipino troops escaped over the weekend.
  • gotta lick itgotta lick it PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    how true, the terrorist tried to ram the gates of post 68 with armored trucks but were fended off by our troops.





    and did Iqbal Singh Singha, the UNDPF commanding officer ordered our troops to surrender?
  • wirehead wrote: »
    ^ that said, is western help for all these groups connected to why the indian undof commander was telling the pinoy peacekeepers to just surrender their weapons and raise the white flag as the afp alleges in the news today? i hope so, because i've been trying to figure out a valid reason for the un commander being such a wuss and have started assuming that cultures who don't circumcise their boys end up raising men who didn't grow balls. like most of the indians at work. probably unfair but i can't help drawing a correlation between the two.

    i forgot the details of the conversation i had a couple of years ago (and i'm not sure how much of it is true) when the syrian conflict started but i heard the main reason why the oily arab countries support these groups has less to do with islamism, although there are individuals within these countries who have always supported these causes even before they discovered oil and got rich, but more on putting people they can control in power so they can get favourable deals. because oil pipeline to europe. it's all about the oil for them.

    The Indian commander's order to surrender is not because the rebels were western supported. It was due to UN's institutional culture of avoiding direct confrontation with local military elements. You know how the UN had continuously failed to act in the face of genocidal crimes in rwanda, the balkans, etc while the killings were being done right before eyes of their peacekeepers. this incident is another nail in the coffin of the useless UN. It's been reduced now to sending strongly worded letters against war criminals lmao.

    The last time UN got its war act together was when the Security Council imposed a No Fly Zone in Libya and proceeded to bomb Ghadaffi and his government to oblivion. That didn't turn out right in the end though because Ghadaffi's enemies were Al Qaeda terrorists and Libya spiraled out of control into a failed state-jihadist wonderland status after the UN/NATO bombing
  • __bahay_kubo____bahay_kubo__ Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    Filipino UNDOF exec's resignation done in protest, AFP confirms
    philstar.com
    Updated September 2, 2014 - 4:53pm


    MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino Chief of Staff of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) resigned in protest of his superior's order that could have endangered the lives of besieged Philippine peacekeepers at Golan Heights, the military said.

    Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. confirmed Tuesday in a state report that Col. Ezra James Enriquez stepped down from his UNDOF post in disagreement with Commander Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singha's call for peacekeepers to surrender their arms to Syrian rebels in a standoff over the weekend.

    Enriquez filed an administrative leave Sunday until October, almost coinciding with the planned return home of the 331-strong Filipino contingent from the conflicted area.

    Tutaan said that Singha ordered the 75 trapped peacekeepers in Position 68 and 69 to give up their weapons and raise the white flag after they were surrounded by the al-Qaeda linked armed men.

    Singha's decision was deemed an attempt to have the 44 Fijian peacekeepers disarmed and captured by rebels freed.

    Tutaan said that Enriquez kept the Philippine military abreast of the situation of the trapped troops until 40 managed to escape from the rebels at nighttime Sunday.

    An Irish armored contingent, meanwhile, rescued the 35 Filipino peacekeepers in Position 69.

    The peacekeepers are now safely stationed at Camp Faouar and Camp Ziuoani, while others are in Position 80.

    Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said, meanwhile, that President Aquino instructed the military to prepare a detailed report on the recent standoff in Golan Heights.
  • darmonxdarmonx PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    the AFP probably has the most combat experience with Islamic militants out of all the troops there... the lesson learned from Mindanao Islamists... it is never a good idea to surrender. I'm glad they are safe.
  • How true is it that the philippine commander is being investigated by the UN for disobeying orders?
  • airforce_bangerairforce_banger PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    PH peacekeepers defied UN order to surrender
    P.S.: nakapatay pa pala ng mga teroristang Syrian ang mga tauhan natin sa Syria pero no casualties on our side. :naughty:

    Possible na yung Irish riding on APCs that did the damage on the rebels. Like yung pag evacuate ng Malaysian and Pakistani APCs sa mga US Rangers during the Mogadishu Blackhawk down.
  • airforce_bangerairforce_banger PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    how true, the terrorist tried to ram the gates of post 68 with armored trucks but were fended off by our troops.





    and did Iqbal Singh Singha, the UNDPF commanding officer ordered our troops to surrender?

    di naman ata armoured vehicles like Humvees and MRAPs. Pickup trucks lang daw but mounted with anti aircraft guns. Kayang Pumulbos ng concrete building ng AA Guns like witnessed in LIBYA and Syria Conflicts.
  • BREAKING NEWS: Mga Pinoy na Sundalo, umutot sa mukha ni Allah. hahaha Hindi nila sinunod ang utos ng UN.
    Basahin nyo ito Filipino Force defied UN Commander←
  • crocopiecrocopie PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    This should turn into a movie.

    But Hollywood....sigh....will make a white guy the bida who would rescue the Pinoy troops...
  • __bahay_kubo____bahay_kubo__ Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    ^ well, maybe they would have Pierce Brosnan as the commander of the Irish troops who rescued the trapped Filipinos. Bond! James Bond! :naughty: :glee:
  • __bahay_kubo____bahay_kubo__ Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    Possible na yung Irish riding on APCs that did the damage on the rebels. Like yung pag evacuate ng Malaysian and Pakistani APCs sa mga US Rangers during the Mogadishu Blackhawk down.

    posible but i assumed that it was our boys who did the damage because the Syrian rebels claimed that three of them were killed during "shootout with UN peacekeepers". i dunno if there was a shootout involving the Irish and the Syrian rebels since the mission of the Irish was the extract trapped Filipino peacekeepers out of their stations. posible din na the Irish also encountered hostile fire pero hindi lang na-report sa media extensively unlike the incident involving our boys and Syrian rebels.
  • Im surprised... sige ako na lang, ill pull out the race card!

    Indian ba yun commander? :D
  • __bahay_kubo____bahay_kubo__ Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    ^ yes.

    554237-force-cmnders.jpg
    -- Major General Iqbal Singha (India), Commander, UNDOF.
  • Enough said. :D
  • __bahay_kubo____bahay_kubo__ Member PEx Icon 🎖️🎖️🎖️
    ^ i wonder if the same "just surrender to the enemy" order will be issued by Iqbal Singha's predecessor as UNDOF Commander, Philippine Army Major General Natalio Ecarma, if ever he was still the one holding the post and not Singha.
  • OGAGMODTODIOGAGMODTODI PEx Rookie ⭐
    Stupid indian
  • commonercommoner Honorary Member PEx Expert 🎖️
    This would be a good movie plot for Hollywood.

    Is this the first time when UN Peacekeepers returned fire in self-defense? I always wondered the use of their weapons when they keep surrendering when surrounded by hostile forces. Parang symbolic lang yung mga baril nila dahil bawal naman gamitin.

    I won't forget Hotel Rwanda where UN Peacekeepers were killed after surrendering. French Foreign Legionnaires pa naman ata mga yun.

    So this clears it. UN Peacekeepers can use their weapons after all. :lol:
  • oops bakit dun kayo nagagali sa Indian General, eh sumusunod lang din ng orders yun?

    dun kayo magalit sa nag organize, nag pondo at nag arma sa mga Syrian Terrorists

    mga [email protected]
  • KamenRaida wrote: »
    oops bakit dun kayo nagagali sa Indian General, eh sumusunod lang din ng orders yun?

    dun kayo magalit sa nag organize, nag pondo at nag arma sa mga Syrian Terrorists

    mga [email protected]

    the issue here is exactly that: blindly following orders just because they've always done it that way. kasi yun ang mas malaking katangahan.

    forgive me for using the race card too, but having to deal with them every day can take its toll. i could get used to them having no balls, but the unbelievable lack of common sense in many of them is something else. even the more sensible indians find it difficult to deal with their fellow countrymen. i could go on, but their other characteristics that irk me are irrelevant at the moment.

    i've read about how the un has messed up in many of its peacekeeping missions by now, including what the dutch peacekeepers did at the srebrenica massacre. is it really so wrong to be disappointed that the commander chose to uphold this proud tradition?
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