Mokhtar Lamani, the Damascus representative of the new U.N.-Arab League peace envoy to Syria, says the peacekeepers crossed into Jordan on Saturday afternoon.
Philippines ambassador in Amman Olivia V. Palala told the Agence France Presse on Saturday: “They are apparently inside Jordanian territory now. I am heading to the borders to meet them.”
Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the soldiers, who were abducted on Wednesday by rebels in the Golan, had been released and were on their way to the border with Jordan and freedom.
The peacekeepers, all Filipinos, were seized Wednesday by Syrian rebels who initially said they would only free the hostages if Syrian regime forces withdraw from the area. They were being held in the village of Jamlah, near the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
Earlier Saturday in Damascus, Syria, the AFP reported that the Filipino UN peacekeepers were being taken on Saturday to the border with Jordan where they will be freed.
It quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog Director Rami Abdel Rahman as saying: “The peacekeepers have been transferred from the (Golan) village of Jamla, where they were held, towards the Yarmuk valley on the frontier with Jordan ahead of their release.”
On Friday, citing the Yarmuk Martyrs Brigade which captured them, he said a deal had been reached between the Syrian regime and the UN for a truce between 0800 and 1000 GMT (4 p.m. and 6 p.m.) on Saturday to allow the Red Cross to evacuate the men.
It was the first abduction of its kind since the conflict erupted in Syria nearly two years ago.
In Manila, a military spokesman said shelling late on Friday, which had prevented the captives being handed over, had stopped.
“After the shelling the two parties (UN and the rebels) resumed coordinating the arrangements for their release,” Colonel Randolph Cabangbang told AFP.
“The planned venue of the handover was not actually shelled. It was the route that they planned to take.”
On Wednesday, the Yarmuk Martyrs Brigade said it captured the Filipinos and would hold them until President Bashar al-Assad's troops withdrew from the Jamla area, east of the ceasefire line with Israel.
In New York, UN peacekeeping spokeswoman Josephine Guerrero said on Friday that efforts to secure their release would resume on Saturday.
Another Philippine spokesman said on Saturday the government had confirmation from the ground that the hostages were safe.
“They are being kept (by the rebels) in a safe area,” Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the Jamla village where the soldiers were being held had come under “intense shelling” on Friday.
That was denied by Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari, who said Syrian forces were doing “everything in order to bring back safely the peacekeepers.”
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland accused Damascus of “making it impossible for UN negotiators to get in there and try to resolve it.”
The Filipinos, members of UNDOF monitoring the armistice line between Syria and Israel that followed the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, were abducted just a mile to the Syrian side of the line.
The rebels are demanding that Syrian troops move 20 kilometres (12 miles) back from Jamla. (With reports from AFP)