Irish troops in the Golan Heights have been involved in a tense operation last night and today as UN troops came under attack from Syrian rebels.

Travelling in armed personnel carriers Irish soldiers extricated 35 Filipino troops from a position surrounded by rebels in the early hours of this morning under cover of darkness.

A firefight also took place between rebels and other Filipino troops on the Golan Heights today.

For more than two days anti-Syrian government forces including, some al-Qaeda linked militants, had surrounded two positions occupied by Filipino UN soldiers and demanded they hand over their arms.  

Spokesperson for the Defence Forces Commandant Sean Ó Fathárta said all members of the Irish Defence Forces currently in the Golan Heights are safe and accounted for.

He confirmed that Irish troops took part in the operation to rescue other UN troops from a position that had been compromised by armed elements this morning.   

He said the situation remains fluid and dangerous but the Irish troops are well trained and resilient and remain on standby for whatever tasks they are given to help UN troops from the Philippines and Fiji who are still in a difficult situation. 

He also said Irish soldiers in Golan have all got state of the art equipment including helmets, and kevlar body armour and are deployed in armoured personnel carriers during the recent operations.