Estonian Defence Forces 21 July 2016
Estonian platoon Estpla-21 to Finnish-Irish Battalion serving in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today assumed duties at UN Position 6-50 near the Blue Line, separating Lebanon and Israel.
„The following two months will mean more responsibility for our platoon since, despite the decreasing number of patrols, we now need to guard the camp, man the command post and provide a quick response squad using only our own unit to man the duties,“ platoon commander Second Lieutenant Valdo Hälvin said.
Almost 20 years ago UN peacekeeping missions to Croatia (1995) and Lebanon (1996) were the first operations abroad for Estonian Defence Forces after the country restored its independence.
Estonian platoon is part of Finnish-Irish Battalion A-Company serving in Sector West of UNIFIL Area of Responsibility. With two decades Estonia has contributed to several UN missions and currently has forces in Mali, as well as military observers contributing to United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) Observers Group in Lebanon.
As of end of May this year Estpla-21 has been conducting patrols; patrolled with Lebanese Armed Forces as well as carried out other peacekeeping duties from their main UN Position 2-45 in At Tiri, Southern Lebanon.
Together with staff officers Estonia has approx. 40 troops in Lebanon. From total over 500 force Finland contributes to Finnish-led battalion with around 300 troops and Ireland around 200 troops. Rotating forces in Blue Line UN Positions 6-50 and 6-52 is part of battalion´s routine.
Estonian UN peacekeepers in Lebanon assume duties near Blue Line