Philippines Likely to Stay in Golan for Another Six Months
The Philippines will likely keep its peacekeeping forces in the Golan Heights for an additional six more months after securing U.N. assurances for the safety of its soldiers in the ceasefire zone.
Manila's foreign minister Albert del Rosario said on Wednesday that the Phillipnes was satisfied with action taken by the United Nations to ensure the safety of its 342 soldier peacekeeping force, with promises to provide protective equipment and weapons, including armored vehicles.
"On that basis, the likelihood is we will continue beyond August 11," del Rosario said, referring to the deadline set by the Philippines plan to withdraw the troops in the absence of U.N. guarantees.
According to reports, Rosari said he would recommend to President Benigno Aquino to keep the troops in the Golan Heights for approximately another six months.
Peacekeepers have been caught in the middle of fighting between Syrian troops and about 20 Filipino soldiers were taken captive twice this year.
Del Rosario said a U.N. Security Council resolution allocated $8 million to enhance security.
The United Nations Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) has been monitoring the ceasefire and has about 1,000 peacekeepers on the force.