Kilkenny soldiers among Irish troops stranded in Syria after flight fiasco
KILKENNY soldiers are among the Irish troops serving in Syria whose flight home after serving a six-month tour of duty in the war-torn country was delayed.
The 130 troops of the 58th Infantry Group stationed in the Golan Heights as part of the UNDOF mission were scheduled to fly out of Beirut and land in Dublin Airport at 9:40am this morning.
But yesterday evening it emerged that the Lebanese authorities refused to granted approval to land the plane in Beirut which was due to fly the soldiers home.
The Irish soldiers were ordered to remain in their base camp in Syria. Troops from Kilkenny and neighbouring Carlow are among the 58th Infantry Group.
The delay – the second involving Irish soldiers trying to get home from Syria in a year – has left many families extremely disappointed.
A spokesperson for the Department of Defence said: “The United Nations is responsible for organising the rotation flights to transport the current UNDOF contingent back to Ireland.
“We have been advised by the UN that the Lebanese Authorities have not yet granted approval of the landing clearance in Beirut for the aircraft scheduled to transport the 59th Infantry Group.
“Defence Forces personnel on the ground are liaising with the local United Nations personnel, who are doing their utmost to resolve this situation.”