Spike in UNIFIL patrolling and joint activities with Lebanese Armed Forces

A Lebanese Armed Forces officer checks the route for a joint foot patrol along the Blue Line with an Indonesian peacekeeper in the vicinity of El Adeisse, south Lebanon.

A UNIFIL Italian paramedic instructor supervises as LAF personnel perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a dummy at the joint UNIFIL-LAF Combat Medical Aid training held recently in south Lebanon.

Lebanese Armed Forces on a joint night patrol with Spanish peacekeepers at the outskirts of Kfar Kela, south Lebanon.

UNIFIL’s Spanish peacekeepers set out for a joint night patrol with the Lebanese Armed Forces at the outskirts of Kfar Kela, south Lebanon.

LAF troops board their patrol vehicles at their base in Kfar Dunin, south Lebanon.

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12 Apr 2018

Spike in UNIFIL patrolling and joint activities with Lebanese Armed Forces

By Tilak Pokharel

Foot patrols up by nearly 60 per cent in eight months while joint UNIFIL and LAF activities increased by 34 per cent’

Following the deployment of a new regiment of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to UNIFIL’s area of operation (AO) last September, the area has witnessed a significant increase in the number of operational activities and the coordination between LAF and UNIFIL troops.


It has been a welcomed move by UNIFIL in furthering the unprecedented eleven and a half years of stability in south Lebanon.


In addition to an increase in the number of joint operational activities between the two forces, the period since the adoption of resolution 2373 by the UN Security Council in August 2017 has also seen an overall increase in the number of UNIFIL activities.


UNIFIL records show that the number of joint activities between UNIFIL and LAF increased by nearly 34 per cent, from 1,523 in August 2017 to 2,035 in March 2018. By the end of March 2018, the joint activities with the LAF in the month accounted for nearly 14 per cent of UNIFIL’s 484 daily operational activities. Joint activities further increased to 19 per cent in the first week of April. This is in comparison to around 11 per cent of the activities conducted jointly with the LAF in March 2017.


Last year, while renewing UNIFIL’s mandate under resolution 1701, the new Security Council resolution called for an “effective and durable deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces” in south Lebanon. It also called for more LAF support and additional joint coordinated activities.


The steady increase took place despite icy conditions and heavy rainfall during December and January.


In just eight months, between August 2017 and March 2018, the daily average number of joint activities with the LAF increased from 49 to 66.


The most dramatic increase has been in the number of UNIFIL foot patrols. The number increased from 1,085 in August 2017 to 1,733 in March 2018, a nearly 60 per cent spike. That is compared to 858-foot patrols for the month of March 2017.


While noting the increase in foot patrols both along the Blue Line and across the UNIFIL AO, Secretary-General António Guterres wrote – in his latest report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 – that the increase “has enhanced UNIFIL situational awareness and monitoring.”


Mr. Guterres said that deepened cooperation between UNIFIL and the LAF, including a further reinforcement of LAF, will be critical in furthering progress towards full implementation of resolutions 1701 and 2373. “A model regiment in South Lebanon, together with the decision of the Government of Lebanon to reinforce deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces (to UNIFIL AO), is testament to the Government’s commitment to extend State authority,” he added.


The increase in foot patrols is also explained by a slight decrease in the number of vehicle patrols that usually involve heavy armoured vehicles – from 5,553 in August 2017 to 5,440 in March 2018.  This limits unnecessary noise disturbance for local communities from operational activities of the UN peacekeepers while providing better access to narrow streets and alleyways.


Since the 2006 deployment of the Lebanese Army into the UNIFIL AO – for the first time in three decades - UN peacekeepers have worked closely with the LAF, which is also the strategic partner of the UN Mission, in keeping and furthering peace. The new LAF deployment in September of the Fifth Intervention Regiment is in addition to two brigades already in the 1,060 square kilometre area.


Data source: UNIFIL J3 Current Operation
Stills: Pascual Gorriz
Translation: Rana Hashem