Irish UN troops caught in Syrian crossfire

Defence Forces say artillery rounds not aimed at UN convoy

A total of 39 Irish troops were patrolling in a United Nations convoy with other nationalities when the artillery fire landed nearby.

A total of 39 Irish troops were patrolling in a United Nations convoy with other nationalities when the artillery fire landed nearby.

Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 01:01

in Tiri, Lebanon


Irish troops serving with the United Nations mission in Syria have been caught up in fighting between the Syrian forces and anti-government armed groups, with up to 15 artillery rounds landing within 200 metres of a convoy of Irish vehicles yesterday.

Defence Forces sources said the rounds were not aimed at the UN convoy. It appeared the Irish troops and their international colleagues were caught in the crossfire.

The artillery rounds caused a blast force and fired shrapnel over an area within range of the Irish vehicles during two incidents.

A total of 39 Irish troops were patrolling in a United Nations convoy with other nationalities when the artillery fire landed nearby.

There were no injuries reported as the vehicles, including armoured troop carriers, the Irish were travelling in were evacuated at speed back to camp in the Golan Heights.

The near-misses were the latest in a number of live-fire incidents the Irish troops have encountered since their deployment began in September.

However, the other events involved much smaller weapons and would not have threatened the safety of armoured vehicles in the same way as yesterday’s incidents.

They took place at about 9am local time near the town of Durbol in the area where the Irish are based with the UN force monitoring the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Syria.

As a convoy of 10 vehicles was conducting a security patrol, three artillery rounds landed and exploded within 200 metres. The convoy continued on its way when it was established the vehicles were not damaged and there were no injuries.


10 rounds
After travelling for a period, the decision was taken to retrace their route back to camp, although avoiding the specific area of the earlier near miss.

About 25 minutes after the convoy had doubled back, the more serious incident occurred when about 10 artillery rounds landed in quick succession near the convoy. There were no injuries.

There are currently 119 Irish troops serving in Syria with the United Nations.

There is a larger deployment of 329 Irish serving with the Unifil force in Lebanon.