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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777
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UN Commander Says ‘Raise the White Flag’ as Syrian Rebels Take UN Peacekeepers Hostage, Attack Others

The UNDOF commander told troops to 'raise the white flag' and 'lay down firearms' thinking that would save other troops.

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UN troops look at smoke rising from Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

UN troops look at smoke rising from Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
Photo Credit: Flash 90

The chief of Philippine armed forces says it will ask for an investigation of the commander of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the Golan Heights who asked his troops to lay down their arms and ‘raise the white flag’ under fire. Two groups of United Nations peacekeepers — both of them Filipino — managed to elude capture by Syrian rebels in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during the past 24 hours.

The head of the Philippine armed forces, General Gregorio Pio Catapang, told journalists in Manila that a group of 32 kidnapped Philippine peacekeepers trapped by the rebels in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights had been rescued.

“We may call it the greatest escape,” he said.

“Everyone is in a safe position,” UNDOF Philippine commander Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, said, according to the BBC. “We left our [former] position but we brought all our arms.” In addition, a second group of 40 UNDOF peacekeepers – apparently also from Philippines – managed to escape a seven-hour siege by the rebels after returning fire in self-defense.

The Philippine government has announced it will recall its force of 331 troops in October due to the deterioration of security in the Golan Heights.

A third group of 44 Fijian UN peacekeepers was kidnapped last Wednesday near Quneitra by the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra terror group (Al Nusra Front). The terror organization said in a statement posted on the internet that the captives were “in a safe place, and they are in good health, and that we have given them what they need of food and treatment.”

Jabhat al Nusra seized control of the Quneitra crossing with Israel — the only border crossing with Syria — last week. The group claimed it had carried out the abductions because the UN ignored “the daily shedding of the Muslims’ blood in Syria.”

The Philippine military is planning to demand a probe of the commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on allegations of endangering the safety of Filipino peacekeepers on active duty. (UNDOF was established May 31 1974, the day Syria and Israel signed a disengagement agreement to end the 1973 Yom Kippur War.)

Gen. Catapang told the BBC that Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha, of India, ordered Philippine UN peacekeepers to lay down their arms to ensure the safety of the Fijian peacekeepers abducted by the Syrian rebels. In addition to laying down their firearms, the general said the Filipino troops were also ordered by Singha to ‘raise the white flag,’ according to the BBC.

“He (Singha) said that if we were attacked we should raise the white flag. I said no way. That means our soldiers will also be held hostage,” said Catapang. The troops defied Singha and informed AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center chief Col. Roberto Ancan instead.

UNDOF is comprised of 1,223 peacekeeper troops from six nations — but it is not clear who will replace the Philippine troops in October.

Hana Levi Julian

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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Imported and Older Comments:

  1. Janek El says:

    defenders of defenseless.;)

  2. Mario Tumala says:

    Good thing that they did not obey the order of that Indian commander. laying down your arms to save others is a stupid idea.

  3. Everyone of us needs to rise up, sounding the alarm, warning the nations to awake out of their sleep and slumber, against a people so brutal, so bloodthirsty, wanting to rule the world with their sharia law. Brutally murdering any who doesn’t submit to their law. Do you think this is a game? Do you think these people aren’t serious? Do you think it won’t happen to you and your country? Wake up and rise up and stop these people. Reject their way of life, for only you can. Shalom everyone.

  4. They, themselves must be stopped! No respect for LIFE at all !

  5. All Non Muslim? Yes? Inside job, to distract from UN’s true Islam Nature.

  6. And now do they see who is truly evil.

  7. The u n can’t even protect their own. What a bogus organization

  8. The un, more tax money thrown in the crapper.

  9. Dino Robert says:

    BRAVE Filipino Soldiers!

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world.” – Gen. Douglas McArthur

  11. Anonymous says:

    "give me ten thousand Indian soldier and I will serve biryani, chapati and curry to the world – Gen. Iqbal Singha LOL

  12. No Commander of any Peace Keeping Force had given the orders to surrender to anyone. This a first for me to hear.

  13. That denial from the UN was to save face. Would the Fijians have surrendered without an order from their commanding officer?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why did a paki was put as commander of UNDOF? We all know that pakis are a bunch of coward creatures. These pakis think that they are still in bollywood movies.

  15. Anonymous says:

    must be joking? let the investigation begins. If that paki "general" is guilty of cowardice, the United Nations must put him before a firing squad whose bullets from their muskets are as big as deodorants (armpit) container.

  16. Anonymous says:

    what do you expect from a "paki"? All pakis think they are still living in the world of bollywood movies.

  17. Please take note the commander is from Pakistan and not from India,
    he is from a country that was hiding O SAMA BIN LADEN.

  18. Arlo Aragon says:

    Foolish indian paki general… we Filipinos never surrender, die or not die we will fight as long as we breath, than die for nothing…

  19. Looks like the UN has already been infiltrated by Muslim sympathizers.
    If and when the Filipinos back out from the peacekeeping force, it will not be because we no longer see the need to help defend Israel's borders. It will be because we are beginning to see that the UN cannot be trusted!

  20. Breaking news from my country: The commander of the Philippine contingent has just served his resignation from the UN forces because he can no longer put himself in submission to the Indian-Pakistani commander.
    I really think the motives of this Indian commander are highly suspicious.

  21. The Filipinos have been doing a great job in the Golan since 1974. It is only now that Muslim terrorism has gotten out of control that this problem has happened. You are right. The UN is the problem. It is beginning to show its true colors. It will betray Israel, if it hasn't already!

  22. Berns De La Vega says:

    Feel sorry for the Fijians, hope they would be released soon. What's this UNDOF Commander is doing now ? after asking them to surrender He is just waiting for the body bags with the heads chopped off ? It's been days now since they were captured. Stupid Paki Boy where did you learn that in Military Science, you don't surrender to barbarians they will kill you same way.

  23. Sound judgement on the part of the Filipino commander. Good job Filipino troops! Condemnation to the UNDOF's commander. Such a decision was uncalled for!

  24. Calsas Fordie says:

    NO WAY… filipino soldiers are not idiot to be held and beheaded by the ISIS.. great job… in what MCARTHUR said "give me hundreds filipino soldiers and i save the world…"

  25. David Howe says:


  26. No peace keeping force really exists least of all the UN peace keeping force. The UN is the biggest waste of monetary resources and time that has degenerated into total 3rd. world chaos and is run by the biggest human rights abusers in this world. The next chairman will be the leader of ISIS, if there is one. The current one just got taken out today by a US airstrike but doubtless they will find another one behind some rock or other where some Islamist is hiding.

  27. Anonymous says:

    if they surrender, there head will be cut-off by this terrorist group.. what the hell this commander thinking??

  28. If only US president barak HUSEIN obama would strike out at the true enemy all this would come to a halt. The Saudi King has warned that IS (ex ISIS) is on it's way to Europe within a month and the U.S.A. is on the agenda for the following month. England is on alert! Islamization is on the move leaving terror and horror in it's wake! Philippine military will demand a probe into the UN re these latest rebel actions – walking into the hall of lies will not result in a clear, honest and fair response. May G-D help us!

  29. These soldiers are survivors in numerous war in the Philippines and this commander will just order them to surrender. These are seasoned fighters overwhelming enemy is not uncommon to them, ambushes is already part of their lives

  30. Beatriz Carvajal says:

    Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world

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