Irish Peacekeepers return to Syrian side of Golan Heights

Ireland’s Department of Defence has issued a statement text below following the latest UN deployment in the Middle East:

“The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe T.D., has welcomed the successful completion of the relocation of Irish Defence Force personnel deployed with United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side of the area of operation. The planned move was part of a phased return by the UNDOF mission from Camp Ziouani on the Israeli side (Alpha side) of the area of separation, to Camp Faouar on the Syrian side (Bravo side) of the area of separation.

In March 2018, UNDOF Headquarters returned to Camp Faouar and the Chief of Staff UNDOF, Colonel Michael Dawson, an Irish Officer, together with seven other members of the Defence Forces moved with the headquarters. The main Irish contingent, comprising a Force Reserve Company of some 130 personnel, completed their relocation to Camp Faouar on 3 September 2018.

The relocation of Irish personnel follows ongoing assessment of the security situation in the region and the continued enhancement of the force protection measures and living standards within Camp Faouar.

Minister Kehoe stated “The safety of our Defence Force personnel is my paramount concern and throughout the relocation operations, I have had ongoing discussions with the UN and also received a first-hand briefing from UNDOF Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Francis Vib-Saniri.”

The Minister advised that the security situation in UNDOF will continue to be monitored closely and any necessary adjustments to ensure the safety and security of personnel will be made as required.

The Minister went on to say “The continued presence of the UNDOF mission remains an important element in ensuring stability on the Golan Heights and in the Middle East region and is supported and welcomed by Syria and Israel.”

Image: A member of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) rides atop an armoured vehicle

Bernard Moffatt

Celtic League Military Monitoring

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