Syria rebels free 21 UN peacekeepers abducted in Golan Heights

Filipino UN peacekeepers cross the Quneitra checkpoint between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights on Saturday.

Twenty-one UN peacekeepers held hostage by Syrian rebels for four days have been freed.

The Filipino peacekeepers arrived in Jordan from neighboring Syria on Saturday, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a Jordanian government spokesman and the Philippines ambassador in Amman.

Rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad abducted the soldiers in the Golan Heights on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

The peacekeepers were part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force that has been monitoring a ceasefire between Israeli and Syria for the past four decades, the Guardian reported.

The rebels initially said they would only release the hostages once Syrian troops pulled out of the area, but negative publicity forced them to drop their demands and negotiate their safe release.

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