Turkish UNIFIL engineering troops return to Turkey from Lebanon

Turkish UNIFIL engineering troops return to Turkey from Lebanon

A Turkish engineering and construction military company operating under the command of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has begun returning to Turkey as part of a Turkish pullout from the operation.

The company consisting of 235 personnel, of which 16 are civilian officials, set sail from Beirut port today, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported.

The Turkish engineering and construction troops had been stationed in Lebanon’s al-Saitiye village since Oct. 20, 2006, after the war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

The troops are expected to reach İskenderun port tomorrow, at which time they will be welcomed with a ceremony, according to Doğan News Agency.

Turkish Ambassador to Beirut İnan Özyıldız, who was present at the departure of the ship, said he believed the troops had made important contributions in Lebanon. “We think and believe that our company has made important contributions to Lebanon’s stability and safety. Our contributions will go on with the naval forces. We wish for the duration of Lebanon’s safety and stability like it used to be.”

While the engineering and construction troops’ mission has been terminated, the Turkish Naval Forces will continue their duty under the UNIFIL command in Lebanon with a frigate.

Özyıldız said the company had registered substantial achievements as part of their duties and had built strong ties with the local people. “They offered various services to locals; they gave grants and provided healthcare. The connections with the local people were very good. We believe they have returned with good memories.”