Syrian rebels treated UN hostages like 'guests'



Manila: Rebels who held 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers in Syria put blankets on their hostages to help them sleep through the cold nights and a rebel commander became visibly emotional when his group released the men, a UN peacekeeping official said on Sunday.

Despite the good treatment they got from the insurgents fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, the peacekeepers were relieved to have survived the four-day ordeal unscathed and were thankful for UN and Philippine government efforts that set them free, said Philippine army Col Cirilito Sobejano, who is the chief of staff of the UN's monitoring mission in the Golan Heights.

The unarmed Filipino army soldiers, who were riding in trucks, were abducted by anti-Assad gunmen after providing water and food to other peacekeeping troops on Wednesday in southern Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.