Minister 'very proud' of Irish troops after successful rescue mission in Syria

It is unclear whether Irish troops will be involved in rescue efforts to free UN workers kidnapped in Syria.

Forty-three peacekeepers from Fiji were taken hostage during the week by Syrian rebels at a border crossing with Israel.

Irish forces are active in the region at the moment.

Yesterday, members of the 44th Infantry helped to rescue Filipino UN troops trapped under heavy fire at their observation posts in the Golan Heights.

A statement on the Defence Forces website said: "In the early hours of Saturday 30 August, members of the Irish 44th Infantry Group successfully conducted an operation to extract United Nations Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) troops from a UN position that was compromised by armed elements in the zone of separation.

"The quick reaction force deployed to the position, secured a withdrawal route, and escorted the troops to a reinforced UN position.

"In light of ongoing operations the 44th Infantry Group remain on high alert, prepared for further taskings from the force commander.

"All Defence Forces personnel and equipment remain safe and accounted for. The 44th Infantry Group and Defence Forces Headquarters continue to monitor the situation."

Minister of State for European Affairs, Dara Murphy said all Irish soldiers were safe and well today.

"The most important thing is there were no casualties or injuries. All our troops are well and healthy and we're very proud of them," he said. It was a very serious mission - a rescue mission - which was successful."

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