UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO): 1948 - Present
Australia: 1948 – present (Total estimated to be 700).
Strength: 13 - Continual 12 month tours.
AO: Syria (including the Golan Heights) Amman - Jordan, Beirut – Lebanon, Cairo & Ismalia – Arab Republic of Egypt (ARE), Gaza, Damascus, Tiberius – Israel, Naquoura, Nahariya, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
In April 1948 a Truce Commission was established to supervise the various armistices and truces after the first Arab-Israeli War. In mid-June 1948 military observers were added to the Commission and UNTSO was formed, becoming an independent observer mission in mid-August 1949. UNTSO has continued to supervise subsequent ceasefires after the 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 Arab-Israeli Wars. UNTSO's area of operations covers Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
On 12 January 1988, Captain Peter McCarthy, Royal Australian Corps of Transport, became the twenty-second UNTSO soldier to be killed in action when his jeep was blown up by a landmine during a patrol in southern Lebanon. Other Australians serving with the Observer Group Lebanon have been kidnapped and maltreated by irregular militias. UNTSO remains as the UN’s (and Australia’s), longest ever peacekeeping mission.
Australian Major General Ford currently commands UNTSO.
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