Irish troops evacuate Filipino peacekeepers in Syria

Irish troops evacuated 35 UN peacekeepers from a Syrian camp this morning as al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels surrounded a number of encampments in the Golan Heights.

The Irish UN peacekeeper battalion, which is tasked with emergency responses, evacuated all the Filipino UN peacekeepers from the Breiqa encampment, according to a military official quoted by the PA news agency which said the camp had been surrounded by rebels of the Nusra Front.

Officials said the 35 Filipino UN peacekeepers were extracted this morning, with the assistance of Irish peacekeepers who rushed to the scene.

The official said there had been no shooting and no injuries. He said that the Irish battalion also evacuated another base on Friday but provided no further details.

The Philippines’ defence secretary Voltaire Gazmin confirmed that peacekeepers from his country had been “extricated” from the camp

A spokesperson for the Irish Defence Forces said the Irish 44th infantry group remained on “high alert” in the Golan Heights area of Syria but added that, due to operational reasons , the Defence Forces cannot comment on ongoing operations.

In a separate encampment, the Rwihana base, a gun battle began early today as 40 Filipino peacekeepers were surrounded by Nusra fighters who were ordering them to surrender, according to Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Mr Abdurrahman, whose information comes from a network of activists throughout Syria, said he was not aware of any fatalities among the 40 Filipino peacekeepers in the Rwihana encampment as sporadic fighting continued throughout the day… Read the full story

Source: Irish Times…