THE FIRST SET of Irish troops to be deployed to the Golan Heights today to join the UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) mission has been delayed by between two and three weeks.
Commandant Denis Hanly of the Defence Forces told TheJournal.ie that the United Nations requested just last night the troops be delayed “for administration reasons”.
The advanced party of around 20 to 30 drivers and logistics personnel were set to head to Syria today to move equipment to the camp and set it up for the arrival of the remaining members of the 43rd Infantary Group.
Hanly said there was “a difficulty in getting the chalk sorted because of paperwork”.
He said the six-month deployment to join the UN mission would still be going ahead, and they plan to have all troops on the ground by the end of September.
Hanly added there is a bit of “frustration” amongst troops and families, while some might have to stay between two and three weeks longer to make up the time lost.
The 12 officers and 103 soldiers of various ranks will be taking part in the UNDOF mission with troops from Fiji, India and the Philippines.
They will not have any mandate to get involved in the internal struggle in the country; the UNDOF mission, in place for almost 40 years, is tasked with keeping the peace between Syria and Israel.