(from http://www.un.org/Depts/DPKO/Missions/unifil.htm)



Note: Data effective 30 November 1994

LOCATION:  Southern Lebanon


DURATION:  March 1978 to present

STRENGTH:  5,187 troops assisted by 59 military observers of
UNTSO's Observer Group Lebanon, and approximately 540 international
and local civilian staff


FORCE COMMANDER:  Major-General Trond Furuhovde (Norway)


In the early 1970s, tension along the Israeli-Lebanon border
increased, especially after the relocation of Palestinian armed
elements from Jordan to Lebanon.  Palestinian commando operations
against Israel and Israeli reprisals against Palestinian bases in
Lebanon intensified.  On 11 March 1978, a commando attack in Israel
resulted in many dead and wounded among the Israeli population; the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) claimed responsibility for
that raid.  In response, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on the
night of 14/15 March, and in a few days occupied the entire
southern part of the country except for the city of Tyre and its
surrounding area.


On 15 March, the Lebanese Government submitted a strong protest to
the Security Council against the Israeli invasion, stating that it
had no connection with the Palestinian commando operation.  On 19
March, the Security Council adopted resolutions 425 (1978) and 426
(1978), in which it called upon Israel immediately to cease its
military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese

It also decided to establish immediately a United Nations interim
force for southern Lebanon for an initial period of six months,
subject to extension.  The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
(UNIFIL) was set up with the mandate to confirm the withdrawal of
Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, to restore international
peace and security and to assist the Government of Lebanon in
ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.  The
first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978.


Until now, however, it has not been possible for UNIFIL to carry
out in full its original mandate.  From its inception, the Force
had to operate under extremely difficult conditions.  The PLO and
the Government of Israel never fully accepted the UNIFIL mandate
with all its implications.  Given these attitudes, the Force was
prevented from deploying fully in the area evacuated by the Israeli
forces between April and June 1978.  In fact, the enclave along the
border was turned over to the "de facto forces" (Christian and
associated militias supported and supplied by Israel).  Israel thus
retained a degree of military power in the area and continued its
fight against the PLO and its Lebanese allies.  UNIFIL's efforts to
implement its mandate in these conditions inevitably met with only
partial success and caused the Force to suffer significant

In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon again.  This invasion changed
UNIFIL's situation drastically.  For three years, UNIFIL in its
entirety remained behind the Israeli lines, with its role limited
to providing protection and humanitarian assistance to the local
population to the extent possible.  In 1985, Israel carried out a
partial withdrawal, but it retained control of an area in southern
Lebanon, manned by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and by Lebanese
de facto forces (DFF), the so-called "South Lebanon Army".

The situation in southern Lebanon continues to be tense and
volatile.  The boundaries of the Israeli-controlled area have not
been clearly defined but are determined de facto by the forward
positions of IDF/DFF.  Within the area of operation of UNIFIL,
IDF/DFF maintain 72 military positions.  IDF/DFF remain targets for
attacks by armed groups opposed to the occupation.  For their part,
IDF/DFF react vigorously to these attacks, often with heavy weapons
and with air support from Israel.

UNIFIL has thus been prevented from carrying out its mandate.  In
the circumstances, it endeavours, to the best of its ability, to
prevent its area of operations from being used for hostile
activities and to protect civilians caught in the conflict.  In
carrying out its tasks, the Force is sometimes hampered by firing
in close vicinity to its positions and personnel.  On a few
occasions, UNIFIL has itself been the target of violence.

UNIFIL's operations are based on a network of positions which are
manned 24 hours a day.  The Force maintains 45 checkpoints, whose
function is to control movement on the principal roads in UNIFIL's
area; 95 observation posts, whose function is to observe movement
on and off the roads; and 29 checkpoints/observation posts which
combine the functions of control and observation.  Each is assigned
responsibility for ensuring that hostile activities are not
undertaken from the area surrounding it.  This involves not only
keeping watch from the position but also patrolling on foot or by
vehicle in its vicinity.  

In addition, unarmed military observers of the United Nations Truce
Supervision Organization (UNTSO) maintain five observation posts
and operate five mobile teams in the area under Israeli control. 
The UNTSO observers are under the operational control of UNIFIL's

UNIFIL's network of positions and the patrols mounted from them
also play a central role in the Force's performance of its
humanitarian task.  They provide the civilian population with
protection and with a source of help if they are subjected to
harassment.  Within available resources, UNIFIL also provides
civilians with medical supplies, water, food, fuel, electricity,
engineering work and escort for farmers.  UNIFIL medical centres
and mobile teams have provided care to an average of 3,000 civilian
patients per month and a field dental programme has also been

In accordance with its mandate of assisting the Government of
Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the
UNIFIL area, UNIFIL and the Lebanese military authorities worked
out arrangements for the transfer to the Lebanese army of
responsibility for the western part of the Force's Ghanaian
battalion sector.  The hand-over, which involved the vacating of
eight UNIFIL positions, was completed in early April 1992.  In a
follow-up hand-over, additional area comprising three villages,
including the former Ghanaian battalion headquarters at Marakah,
was handed over to the Lebanese Army on 16 February 1993.

In July 1994, in his periodic report to the Security Council, the
Secretary-General stated that although UNIFIL continued to be
prevented from implementing its mandate, its contribution to
stability in the region and the protection it provided to the local
population remained important.  He recommended that the Council
extend UNIFIL's mandate for a further period of six months, that is
until 31 January 1995.  The Security Council approved that


 At present, UNIFIL has 5,187 troops provided by the following
countries (figures as at 30 November 1994):


Fiji, 646

Finland, 524

France, 411

Ghana, 788

Ireland, 733

Italy, 45

Nepal, 671

Norway, 806

Poland, 563

TOTAL, 5,187

Figures may vary from month to month due to rotation. "Troops"
include any infantry, logistics, engineering, medical, move-con,
staff, etc.

In addition, 59 military observers from UNTSO's Observer Group
Lebanon assist the Force in the performance of its tasks.  UNIFIL
employs some 540 civilian staff, of whom 148 are recruited


The rough cost to the United Nations of UNIFIL in 1994 was
approximately $142.3 million.  The costs of the operation are met
by the assessed contributions of the United Nations Member States. 
As at 30 November 1994, total contributions outstanding to the
UNIFIL Special Account for the period from the inception of the
operation to 31 January 1995 amounted to approximately $232.4