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Troops to return from last mission in the Golan Heights

The last Irish troops stationed in Syria are due to return home today, as the Defence Forces ends its peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights.

Ireland is withdrawing its troops from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which monitors the border between Syria and Israel.

It follows ten years of peacekeeping service in the area.

133 Irish troops from the 68th Infantry Group are returning, following a six-month deployment.

Soldiers were drawn from all parts of the defence forces to take part in this mission, but the majority came from the 6th Infantry Battalion from Custume Barracks in Athlone.

The troops are returning on a chartered flight direct from Camp Faouar and are due to arrive into Dublin Airport this afternoon, where they will will be met by their families and friends.

The 68th Infantry Group has operated under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Clear. 34 personnel involved in the mission were on their first tour of duty overseas.

Defence Forces’ equipment, such as armoured personal carriers, are being transported to Ireland via cargo ship from Beirut harbour.

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, informed the Government of his decision to withdraw the Defence Forces’ contribution to UNDOF in March of last year.

The decision followed the conclusion of an assessment of the sustainability of the Defence Forces’ overseas commitments.

As a result of this assessment, and on the basis of military advice, the decision was taken to withdraw the Infantry Group.

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