Philippines: Syrian rebels want to release troops

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Associated Press

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 7 at 9:33 PM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military spokesman says Syrian rebels who seized 21 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights want the Red Cross to escort them out of the area because of fighting with Syrian government forces.

The 21 peacekeepers were seized Wednesday near the Syrian village of Jamlah, just a mile from the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

Philippine military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said Friday that the rebels are willing to release the peacekeepers. He says the rebels are asking for the International Committee of the Red Cross to escort them to a safe area.

According to Burgos, the rebels said the peacekeepers have to be removed because there is heavy fighting in the area.

He said the information came from the U.N. command.

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