Estonian troops serving in Lebanon return to main base
Estonian infantrymen serving in the Finnish-Irish Joint Battalion FINIRISHBATT returned from the UN’s base 6-50, located on the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, to the battalion’s main base late last week. The troops will be continuing patrols from their main base, base 2-45.
The Estonian infantry platoon Estpla-20 began serving at the base on the Blue Line on January 17, and over the course of two months, the servicemen regularly performed both foot and motorized patrols of the territory for which they were responsible, continually monitored the Blue Line separating the two parties of conflict, ensured the security of the base, and always kept one squad on guard.
“The two months at the UN base 6-50 went by very productively, because in addition to regular patrols, we were responsible for guarding the camp, and part of the unit had to be at the ready at all times in case of any incidents such as could happen in the vicinity of the Blue Line,” said Second Lieutenant Priit Lillemets, head of the Estpla-20 platoon. “The platoon handled their assignments very well.”
As of this week, the Estonian infantrymen will continue both day and night patrols from base 2-45, the main base of the Finnish-Irish Joint Battalion. The manning of various smaller positions also makes up part of regular service. Similarly to the Finnish contingent, Irish peacekeepers man position 6-52 on a rotating basis.
Together with staff officers, nearly 40 Estonian servicemen are currently serving in Lebanon in the UN’s peacekeeping mission United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, most of whom make up a platoon-sized unit primarily built upon the B-Company of the Estonian Land Forces’ Scouts Battalion. The Estonian infantry platoon is part of the Finnish-German battalion FINIRISHBATT.
The main mission of the Estpla-20 infantry platoon is to conduct both daytime and nighttime patrols in order to establish the presence of UNIFIL in the area, as well as oversee that both sides of the conflict heed the agreements established between themselves. Estpla-20 servicemen conduct patrols both independently and in cooperation with Lebanese forces.
The current unit is the third Estonian infantry unit to be stationed in Lebanon. Another Estonian infantry company served on the UNIFIL mission from 1996-1997.
A total of 40 countries currently contribute to the UNIFIL mission.