The Spanish Armed Forces were deployed in Lebanon in September 2006. The contingent workforce in Libre Hidalgo Operation is located at the Miguel de Cervantes Base, near the town of Marjayoun where the Eastern Sector Headquarters, led by Spain, is located. There is also Spanish personnel at the mission headquarters in Naqoura.
In December 2018, around 600 military personnel were deployed at UNIFIL, a number that has been maintained since 2012.
Spanish soldiers carry out patrols on foot and in vehicles to permanently monitor the border line between Lebanon and Israel. They also establish observatories and execute other activities in collaboration with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), all aimed at ensuring compliance with United Nations resolution 1701 and avoiding situations that could lead to an upscale of tension between the parties.
The Eastern Multinational Brigade led by Spain, commanded by a Spanish General, is made up of around 3500 troops of 9 different nationalities. Spain contributes with 600 men and women.
Since the beginning of the mission, fifteen Spanish soldiers have died in Lebanon.
The current contingent is made up of military personnel from the “King Alfonso XIII” Brigade of the Legion and the 21 Logistic Support Group, representing 88% of the total Spanish military personnel deployed in Lebanon. Members of 28 units of the Army and Guardia Civil -Civil Guard- complete the 600 that make up the contingent. This number has been maintained since 2012; 5% are women.
Following the severe crisis between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, the UN increased its Blue Helmets in the area. This decision was endorsed by Resolution 1701, which has subsequently been expanded in terms of tasks, and renewed over time. The Spanish response came swiftly, and the Parliament supported to send a contingent of a maximum of 1.100 troops by practical unanimity (there were only two abstentions).
The presence of UN troops on the border between Lebanon and Israel dates back to 1978. Until July 2006, the situation remained stable, but then new hostilities began between the two countries.
After intense negotiations, the UN Security Council approved a considerable increase in the number of UNIFIL troops, from 2.000 to 15.000, and expanded its command.
In the UN's strategic review of the mission in 2012, which stated that the mission's objectives were practically consolidated, the number of troops was greatly reduced.
The UN mission in Lebanon has among its tasks to monitor the cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel and to accompany and assist the LAF in the south of the country and along the separation between the two states, the so-called Blue Line. It also guarantees humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.
The mission is currently immersed in what is known as the stabilization phase, in which it is intended that the LAFs will be able to take charge of the situation without the need of UNIFIL presence.
· November 23: The XXXII Lebanon Brigade on the basis of the “King Alfonso XIII” II Brigade of the Legion takes over from the XXXI Lebanon Brigade made up mostly by the XII “Guadarrama” Brigade. Brigadier General Marcos Llago is the Commander of the Spanish contingent and UNIFIL East Sector Commander.
· May 25. The 12th Brigade “Guadarrama” replaces the 7th Brigade “Galicia” at the Base “Miguel de Cervantes” in Marjayoun. The General Rafael Colomer Martínez del Peral is the new Chief of the Spanish contingent and of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) Sector East.
· April 8. Operation “Grey beret”. BRILIT´s engineers dismantle part of the old fence that separates Lebanon from Israel, for the sake of maintaining stability within the “Blue Line”.
· November 21. The 1st Brigade “Aragón” is replaced by the 7th Brigade “Galicia” (BRILAT) at the Base Miguel de Cervantes in Markayoun. General Antonio Romero is the new Chief of the Spanish contingent and of the UNIFIL Sector East.
· August 7. The current “Head of Mission” and “UNIFIL Force Commander”, the Italian Major General Stefano del Col takes command.
· On May 23, the Spanish contingent is replaced, having as the source base unit the 1st Brigade “Aragón”, based in Zaragoza. The Brigadier General José Luis Sánchez Martínez-Falero is the current Chief of the Sector East and of the Spanish contingent. He will be in charge of the 29th Brigade Lebanon till next November.
· September 15. 10th anniversary of the Spanish mission in UNIFIL. Spain reiterates its commitment with the mission.
· January 28. The Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo, member of the 10th BRI, passes away in the position UNP 4-28 due to a fire action between Hezbollah and Israel.
· November. UNIFIL´s Strategic Review by United Nations. Spain was in charge of reassessing the necessities and it was agreed, in accordance with our allies, to reduce the contingent up to 600/700 soldiers.
· January 28. The Spanish Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas takes over leadership of the mission till 2012.
· June 24. Six Spanish soldiers pass away due to terrorist attack.
· November. The base Miguel de Cervantes is inaugurated.
· September 15. First Spanish troops disembark in Lebanon.
· September 7. The Congress of Deputies authorises sending Spanish forces to Lebanon in July. Crisis between Hezbollah and Israel.
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