Twenty-one UN peacekeepers were released by Syrian rebels after being held hostage for four days. The peacekeepers, all Filipinos, arrived in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Saturday. (March 10)
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Amman, Jordan - March 9
1. Various of UN peacekeepers getting off bus and shaking hands with officials
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Costanza Farina, UN Resident Coordinator: (Transcribed Below)
3. Various of UN peacekeepers around table
4. UN peacekeepers walking to bus
7. UN peacekeepers on bus
OVERWRITE WITH SCRIPT HERE
TWENTY-ONE UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS WHO WERE HELD HOSTAGE FOR SEVERAL DAYS BY SYRIAN REBELS ARRIVED SAFELY IN JORDAN ON SATURDAY -- WHERE THEY WERE GREETED BY JORDANIAN AND FILIPINO OFFICIALS.
THE PEACEKEEPERS -- ALL FILIPINOS -- WERE TAKEN HOSTAGE IN SOUTHWESTERN SYRIA AND HELD IN A VILLAGE NEAR JORDAN AND THE ISRAELI-HELD GOLAN HEIGHTS.
SATURDAY -- THE UN PAID TRIBUTE TO JORDAN FOR ITS HELP IN SECURING THE PEACEKEEPERS' RELEASE.
SOUNDBITE: (English) Costanza Farina, UN Resident Coordinator:
"On behalf of the UN Secretary General, let me just extend our deepest appreciation and gratitude to his Majesty the King, to the government of Jordan, to the Jordanian Armed Forces, and to all partners who have been involved in this operation."
INITIALLY, THE REBELS SAID THEY WOULD RELEASE THE HOSTAGES ONLY IF SYRIA'S GOVERNMENT TROOPS WITHDREW FROM THE AREA.
HOWEVER, AS THE ABDUCTION MADE HEADLINES -- THE REBELS EVENTUALLY DROPPED THEIR DEMANDS AND BEGAN NEGOTIATING WITH UN OFFICIALS OVER THE RELEASE.
SIGOUT - Carlotta Bradley/Associated Press