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Members of the Defence Forces during a training exercise in Ireland last year. KFB

Irish troops to return to Syrian side of Golan Heights after removal due to safety concerns

The Irish infantry group is set to return later this year.

IRISH DEFENCE FORCES members are to return to the Syrian side of the Golan Heights having previously been moved from the region due to safety concerns.

The 57th Infantry Group, which comprises 130 personnel, is currently based in Camp Ziouani on the Israeli side of the area of separation. It had been moved there in 2014 due to an increase in fighting in the area.

However, after a review of security by senior Defence Force members, the Irish infantry group is set to return later this year.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe had previously advised the Government that certain requirements in relation accommodation, medical provisions, access and exit routes, would have to be met before Irish troops would return to Camp Faouar.

The role of the 57th Infantry Group includes the provision of a quick reaction force to assist ongoing operations. The Irish Infantry Group is also tasked with carrying out patrols and convoy escorts as necessary

The Government today also gave its approval for the Defence Forces to continue their work in Kosovo. Ireland has been part of the peace mission in Kosovo since the war ended there in 1999.

Meanwhile, Ireland will celebrate the role of Peacekeepers at a state ceremony in Dublin Castle on Sunday. The midday event will be attended by President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, along with loved ones of the 87 Defence Force members who lost their lives.

“It will be a fitting opportunity to honour the men and women who have served our country with distinction in peacekeeping missions around the world,” Defence Minister Paul Kehoe said.

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