The UK has given a 100 armored patrol vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces in a bid to help the country counter the threat from ISIS along its border with Syria.
The “revised weapons mounted installation kit” (RWMIK) Land Rovers, which are capable of tackling the rugged Syrian border terrain and can be mounted with heavy weapons, have been given to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) land border regiments (LBRs) that patrol the area.
This allows them to keep closer watch over their borders and stop extremists trying to enter Lebanon.
The Lebanese border is also used by international arms and drugs smugglers, with the illicit substances and arms then transited through the country and onto other parts of the world.
“This fantastic border project marks the next chapter of the longstanding relationship between the British Armed Forces and our Lebanese counterparts,” UK armed forces minister James Heappey said.
“We share a common enemy in Daesh. The UK will continue to work closely with our partners in the region to stamp out the threat posed by terrorist groups.”
The RWMIKs are being taken out of service by the British Military this year after a long period on UK operations around the globe, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following a request from General Aoun, the Commander in Chief of the LAF, to help bolster border security, the vehicles left the UK on January 18 and arrived in Lebanon on January 31. The total value of the vehicles is £1.5million.
A small specialist team from 16 Air Assault Brigade deployed to meet the vehicles on arrival in Beirut and have delivered an initial round of vehicle training to the LAF. This training will continue in the spring to ensure the LAF can get the very best tactical and operational effect from them. The Conflict Security and Stability fund is also providing £300,000 for spare parts for the vehicles.
The donation builds on support already provided to Lebanon by the UK, including the construction of 79 border towers, provision of 350 vehicles, and training over 23,000 LAF personnel. Following the devastating Beirut explosion in August 2020, the UK also provided £27 million in humanitarian assistance and deployed HMS Enterprise to assist at the port.