Irish troops forced to return fire in Syria
IRISH troops on a peace-keeping mission in the Golan Heights have exchanged fire with Syrian rebels after a convoy came under attack.
The brief fire-fight took place at 9:50 local time this morning on the Syrian-Israeli border where Irish soldier have been patrolling since September as part of a UN force.
No Irish troops were seriously injured in the incident which is the second time this month that they have come under fire in the disputed region which has been monitored by international peacekeepers since 1974.
Defence Forces spokesman Cmdt Denis Hanly told the independent.ie that a convoy of five Irish Mowag armoured cars came under small arms fire by an unknown number of assailants.
He said they returned fire using the vehicles' heavy machine guns and withdrew to their base.
Cmdt Hanly said there are “no reports” of casualties among the Syrian rebels and said that one Irish soldier sustained a minor injury while taking cover inside one of the vehicles.
He said the solider has “been x-rayed and he's fine.
“He'll be back on duty tomorrow.”
Earlier this month another Irish patrol passed within 200 metres of artillery fire between rebels and forces loyal to the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
Most of the Irish troops in the Golan Heights are from the east of the country with many based in Cathal Brugha barracks in Dublin.