Wednesday, August 08, 2018


20 Jul 2018 - UNIFIL peacekeepers recently started a series of operational activities lasting 36 hours straight as one more step in strengthening the UN mission's visibility and coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
Launched in mid-June by UNIFIL's Spanish Contingent, the 36-hour patrol includes a number of activities including foot patrols, vehicle patrols, Blue Line patrols and firing exercises. Members of the LAF also participate in certain sections of the patrol, but not the entire 36-hour stretch.
To date, seven such patrols have been organized – two by the Italian Contingent and one each by the French, Ghanaian, Irish/Finnish, Nepalese and Spanish contingents.
UNIFIL's Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Colonel Amable Sarto, says the new initiative is "one more step forward in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2373," by further increasing the presence, visibility and area dominance of UNIFIL patrols and by enhancing cooperation and visible presence with the LAF.
Adopted on 30 August 2017, Resolution 2373 renewed UNIFIL's mandate by one year and also called for an "accelerated" and "durable" deployment of the LAF in south Lebanon, as well as increased support of and coordination with LAF. It also called for enhanced reporting on all violations of Resolution 1701, which forms the core of UNIFIL's current mandate.
Nepalese Battalion's Chief Operations Officer Major Diwakar Rayamajhi joined a 36-hour patrol earlier this week. This covered a 96 square kilometre area of responsibility in Sector East, including a 15 kilometre stretch of the Blue Line. The patrol carried out 10 operational activities during the 36 hours, including four with the LAF. Maj. Rayamajhi said the patrol further strengthened the collaboration with the LAF and ensured that no hostile activities were taking place.
Patrol Commander Captain Deepak Bahadur Thapa said it was "a new experience" for him. Highlighting the significance of the new initiative, he said having the same set of UN Peacekeepers' eyes cover the same track in one patrolling cycle can better help detect any changes on the ground.