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Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, T.D., concerned about recent incidents in the Golan Heights

The Minister for Defence Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., is aware of incidents in the Golan Heights over the past few days. The Golan situation remains volatile as Inter-Anti Government Armed Elements continue to clash within the Area of Separation.

The current Irish contingent, the 46th Infantry Group, is based in UNDOF Headquarters in Camp Ziouani. It operates in the role of a Quick Reaction Force, which is on standby to assist with on-going operations within the UNDOF Area of Responsibility. This Quick Reaction Force has been tasked over the last few days to secure and clear sites and to evacuate two injured UN observers (non-Irish) from a UN Post within the UNDOF Area of Responsibility.

All Irish Defence Forces personnel serving with UNDOF are safe and accounted for in Camp Ziouani.

The Minister has been assured that all necessary Force Protection Measures are being implemented by the Defence Forces contingent in UNDOF in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures. The Minister stated that “I am fully aware that peacekeeping operations are not without risk, however the safety of our troops is my priority. I am concerned at the recent incidents and will continue to monitor developments in the region”.

The Minister went on to say that “the UN provides regular updates on the mission to the Security Council. The presence of the UNDOF mission remains an important element in ensuring stability on the Golan Heights and in the Middle East region”.


Note to Editor

At the request of the United Nations, following Government and Dáil Éireann approval, a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force has been deployed to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights in Syria since 2013. The Defence Forces have previous experience in a similar role in Liberia and Lebanon.

At the request of the United Nations, Brigadier General Anthony Hanlon took up appointment as Deputy Force Commander UNDOF on 20 September 2014.

The mandate of the UNDOF mission was renewed on 18 December 2014 under UN Security Council Resolution 2192 (2014) until 30 June 2015.

UNDOF is assisted by over eighty (80) military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation’s (UNTSO) Observer Group Golan, with five (5) Irish Officers. An Irish officer, Major General Michael Finn, is Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of UNTSO.

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