Now Syrian Rebels Claim They Rescued UN 'Guests'

Video making demands for their release pulled offline
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2013 7:00 AM CST
Now Syrian Rebels Claim They Rescued UN 'Guests'
Philippine peacekeeping officers line up before departing to Golan Heights at the Villamor Air Base at a Manila suburb, in the Philippines, Nov. 11, 2012.   (AP Photo/Philippine Army)

You got it all wrong, a Syrian rebel group protested today. They weren't abducting UN peacekeeping troops in the Golan Heights yesterday, they were rescuing them. The rebel group, known as the Yarmouk Martyrs' Brigade, has pulled down a video they'd posted on Facebook saying they wouldn't release the 20-some Philippines troops until Bashar al-Assad's forces left the area, replacing it with one saying that they had "managed to secure" the troops "after they were victims of the criminal shelling of Assad's gangs," the Washington Post reports.

The video concludes by asking the UN to send a security convoy to retrieve the troops. The change of heart followed a series of negotiations with the UN overnight. All along, the rebels insisted that the troops were being treated as "visitors and guests" and wouldn't be harmed, the New York Times reports. Philippine President Benigno Aquino had expressed confidence the troops would be released today or tomorrow, and said that both sides considered the UN a "benign presence"—a sentiment seemingly at odds with the Brigade's first video, which accused the troops of collaborating with Assad, Reuters points out. (Read more Syria stories.)

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