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Irish Defence Forces set for observer role in UN Syria mission

The Cabinet approves proposals to deploy up to six Defence Forces staff as unarmed observers in Syria.

Image: [File photo] Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE CABINET has approved plans to deploy members of Ireland’s Defence Forces as unarmed military observers in the UN mission to Syria.

Up to six members of the Permanent Defence Force will be made available to the UN for service with the United Nations’s supervision mission, which will monitor the upholding of the ceasefire between government and rebel forces.

The mission will also monitor the full implementation of the six-point plan recently proposed by Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League special envoy.

Defence minister Alan Shatter said the UN mission would not only save lives but help to oversee a transition of political reform.

“Participation by the Defence Forces in the UN supervision mission will, once again, reaffirm Ireland’s continued support for the United Nations,” Shatter said.

The UN’s supervision mission was established following a unanimous resolution of the UN’s Security Council last Saturday. A UN advance team of 30 people has already travelled to Syria to oversee the early days of the ceasefire.

Fianna Fáil defence spokesman Dara Calleary welcomed the plan.

“Syria is in desperate need of an international peace mission and the Irish Defence Forces has the capacity and the expertise to provide much-needed support at this critical time, as the death-toll rises daily,” Calleary said.

Read: Reports of three intelligence officers killed in Syria

More: Syrian forces kill dozens after UN monitors’ visit

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Gavan Reilly

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