GALLERY: Estonian UN troops in Lebanon
The Estonian infantry unit in Lebanon has began guarding a new area, very close to the Blue Line, the border area between Israel and Lebanon.
Head of the unit, Captain Mario Lementa, said the move means more responsibilities. “We are away from our main base and we must control the Blue Line independently, and we must be prepared to react.”
The troops had previously guarded areas outside larger cities and conducted shorter patrols on the Blue Line. Estonian soldiers will now be based on a small base which they themselves will have to guard.
Around 40 Estonian Defense Forces members are in Lebanon on the UNIFIL mission. The platoon is part of a Finnish-Irish battalion.
“Being part of the only multinational battalion in UNIFIL enables even smaller nations like Estonia to contribute to international peacekeeping efforts,” Lementa said. He said one of Estonia's first ever foreign missions was in Lebanon in 1996 and such missions help build the expeditionary capability of the armed forces.