TIME

All Filipino Peacekeepers Escape Golan Standoff

Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.
In this handout photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office, Military Chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., left seated, conducts an online video conference with 7th Philippine Contingent to Golan Heights commander Lt. Col. Ted Damusmog, as they meet at Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters in suburban Quezon city, Philippines Aug. 30, 2014. Armed Forces of the Philippines—AP

(MANILA, Philippines) — The Philippine military chief says more than 70 Filipino peacekeepers have escaped from two areas in the Golan Heights that came under attack by Syrian rebels.

Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said Sunday in the Philippine capital, Manila, that the Filipino peacekeepers separately moved to positions that were safely away from any further threat.

According to Catapang, the Filipinos were surrounded by the rebels and had to return fire in self-defense before managing to escape after a seven-hour siege.

Catapang says: “We may call it the greatest escape.”

The clashes came after Syrian rebel groups, including the Nusra Front, overran the Quneitra crossing on the frontier between Syrian and Israeli controlled parts of the Golan on Wednesday, seizing 44 Fijian peacekeepers.

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