Finnish peacekeepers continue operations in Lebanon

UN peacekeeping forces in the region are in contact with both sides and are working to keep the tense situation from escalating.

There are currently around 200 Finnish UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, north of Israel, who operate in the area alongside Lebanese and French soldiers.

The UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon reported in a posting on the social media platform X (formally known as Twitter) on Sunday that peacekeepers detected rocket launches originating from southeast Lebanon towards the Kafr Couba area occupied by Israel. Israel responded with artillery fire.

UNIFIL says that the peacekeeping forces are in contact with both sides and are working to keep the situation stable and avoid any escalation.

The UN mission adds that its personnel will remain in their positions and continue their work.

According to a post on X by the Finnish Army, the status of its troops serving in Lebanon is unchanged and they will continue their mission.

This was confirmed in an email to Yle from the commander of the Finnish Crisis Management Force in Lebanon, Lieutenant Colonel Markku Puustinen.

“All Finnish peacekeepers are fine and will continue in their duties. Finnish and French peacekeepers continue to carry out patrol missions in various parts of southern Lebanon, including on the Blue Line,” he wrote.

The Blue Line is a demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel established by the UN following Israel’s withdrawal in 2000.

According to Lt. Col. Puustisinen, UNIFIL is closely monitoring the development of the situation and is trying to prevent further escalation.

“The security situation in southern Lebanon is fragile, and rapid changes are possible. At this stage, we are not going to speculate about how the situation will develop,” he told Yle.

Peacekeepers in Lebanon since the 70s

UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, has been in place since 1978.

Finnish peacekeepers have participated in the UNIFIL operation in Lebanon over five decades – in 1982–2001, 2006–2007 and since 2012.

The main tasks of the UNIFIL mission are monitoring the border area between Lebanon and Israel, supporting the Lebanese armed forces, assisting the local population, and helping in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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