New commander of UNIFIL’s French peacekeepers takes charge
UNIFIL’s French-led Force Commander’s Reserve (FCR) got its new commander last week. UNIFIL Force Commander Major General Michael Beary inspected the 12 July transfer of authority from Colonel Olivier Baudet to Colonel Frederic Edel in the French peacekeepers’ main base in Deir Kifa.
With 750 French and Finnish peacekeepers, FCR is UNIFIL’s quick reaction force, directly placed under the UNIFIL Force Commander’s orders, in order to maintain peace in south Lebanon. Besides conducting regular patrols and other operational activities, FCR peacekeepers also participate in air and ground surveillance within the UNIFIL area of operation, including radar and anti-aircraft defenses, and provide training for the Lebanese Armed Forces.
French soldiers have a long history with UNIFIL. They were among the first peacekeepers to arrive in south Lebanon – just four days after the establishment of UNIFIL in March 1978. They were also among the first to deploy after UNIFIL troops number was increased substantially following the 2006 war.