The Estpla-22 unit of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) was moved to the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel on Sunday, where they will patrol the border for the next two months.
So far the peacekeeping mission of the unit covered regular patrols of the area along the border, while for the next two months, Estpla-22 will patrol the Blue Line directly. According to Lt. Virko Luide, who is in command of the unit, this means a change of scenery as well as more responsibility, as farther away from their base the soldiers had to act more independently, and if needed react quickly to changing conditions as well.
The Blue Line was established in the year 2000 with the help of the United Nations to determine whether or not Israeli forces had completely retreated from Lebanese territory. More than 9,000 military personnel from 40 countries are active on UN’s UNIFIL peacekeeping mission that patrols the border.
Including staff officers, some 40 Estonian military personnel are currently taking part in the mission. The platoon mainly consists of Scoutspataljon troops and is part of the Irish-Finnish battalion.
Estonia has been involved in UNIFIL since 1996, when an infantry platoon participated in the mission as the first Estonian unit. Today, Estpla-22’s main task is to patrol its designated areas by day and night to demonstrate the mission’s presence as well as to check if both sides are keeping to the Blue Line agreement. The Estonian soldiers work on their own as well as in cooperation with Lebanese forces.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn