The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has added 100 British-made armored cars to its defensive arsenal, equipment that will boost the capabilities of troops guarding the border with Syria.
Called the Land Rover RWMIK, the armored cars host three-men crews and mount either a machine gun or grenade launcher. They provide maneuverability, firepower and a relatively low profile to support reconnaissance, convoy and fire support missions.
LAF plans to use the cars to pursue terrorists, smugglers and other criminals that regularly attempt to cross the border.
“It’s a great practical example of the friendship and collaboration between the armed forces of our two countries, and the U.K.’s genuine commitment to a strong and stable Lebanon,” said Martin Longden, then Britain’s special envoy to Syria.
Hundreds of trucks smuggling government subsidized goods such as wheat, flour and diesel cross into Syria. That illegal trade has worsened since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
NATO militaries — particularly those of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada — have stood by the Lebanese Armed Forces in their quest to boost security on their land borders.
In recent years, the U.K. has supported the deployment of four Lebanese border regiments, building over 75 watchtowers, supplying 350 Land Rovers and training more than 11,000 Soldiers.
The U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect military assistance, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, armored cars and training.
Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Programme provides nonlethal equipment and support vehicles to help Lebanon defend its borders more effectively.
Sources: alarabya.net, Aljazeera.net, U.S. State Department