Belfast Telegraph

Syrian rebels fire on Irish troops

Irish troops serving in Syria have come under attack from anti-government armed forces.

A total of 36 Irish troops were travelling in five Mowag armoured personnel carriers when they came under fire.

It is believed an unidentified explosion damaged the tyre on one of the vehicles.

The Irish soldiers issued a warning shot with 12.7mm heavy machine guns which are mounted on their vehicles.

All the troops were inside the five Mowags at the time and one sustained soft tissue injury to his back while undercover.

The incident happened yesterday morning at the village of Ruihinah, about 25km (15.5 miles) from the Irish camp in the Golan Heights.

There are 119 Irish troops serving in Syria with the UN Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights.

They were caught in a firefight between Government and anti-government forces earlier this month.

Defence Minister Alan Shatter said he had been fully briefed on the incident on the Golan Heights by Irish Commanders deployed with Undof and by the Head of Mission of Untso, Ireland's Major General Michael Finn in Jerusalem.

"We know that our troops were deployed to the Golan Heights at a time of increased instability but that they are fully trained and equipped to undertake their important duties on behalf of the United Nations," he said.

"They remain fully committed to this task."

Mr Shatter is attending high level meetings in Israel and Ramallah on the last day of his trip to the Middle East.

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