UN Military Observers (UNMOs) are un-armed and are trained to observe and report violations of the agreements of ceasefire, disengagement, etc., relevant to their areas of operation. All military observers are seasoned officers in the rank of captain or major, coming from all branches of service in their respective countries’ armed forces. 26 Nations contribute to UNTSO with a total of 153 military personnel, including 15 female officers. They work in multi-national teams, so that any observations are confirmed by at least two observers from different nations to guarantee impartiality.
UNTSO currently provides military observers to two UN missions in the area: Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), which supports UNIFIL in south Lebanon, and Observer Group Golan (OGG), supporting UNDOF in the Golan. OGG maintains its headquarters co-located with UNDOF HQ in Camp Ziouani, on the Occupied Golan, and is split into two outstations: Observer Group Golan – Damascus (OGG-D) and Observer Group Golan – Tiberias (OGG-T), based in those respective areas.
Each outstation staffs a number of Observation Posts on each side of the Area of Separation (AOS) as part of the 1974 Disengagement Agreement between Syria and Israel following the 1973 October War. The military observers carry out fortnightly inspections in the Area of Limitation (AOL) to verify that both sides adhere to the limitations on troop levels and military equipment within 10, 20 and 25 km zones from the AOS as prescribed by the 1974 Disengagement Agreement. OGG-D recommenced operational activities in August 2016 from the outskirts of Damascus, Syria.
OGL HQ is co-located with UNIFIL HQ in Naqoura, south Lebanon. OGL operates out of UNIFIL bases and patrols along the "Blue Line", a line of Israeli withdrawal between the parties, Israel and Lebanon, in 2000.
Over the years, a total of 51 UNMOs have lost their lives during UNTSO service. To protect personnel, prior to a deployment each officer must complete a UN certified training course qualifying the member to be an UNMO.
UNTSO maintains its headquarters (HQ) in Jerusalem with its liaison offices in Beirut (Lebanon), Ismailia (Egypt) and Damascus (Syria). The liaison offices for Amman (Jordan) and Tel Aviv (Israel) are based at the HQ in Jerusalem. The Liaison Offices in Beirut, Damascus, Ismailia and Tel Aviv/Amman (based in Jerusalem) coordinate the regional liaison visits of UNTSO Head of Mission / Chief of Staff to Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Israel and Jordan respectively. Liaison Office Cairo (LOC) in Ismailia also conducts patrols on the Sinai Peninsula.
The UNTSO Liaison Offices in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and in Jerusalem for liaison with Israel and Jordan, engage regularly with national officers in the respective countries to review stability/security trends and effects, as well as with troop-contributing countries, international representatives, and regional UN organizations, while Observer Group Lebanon within UNIFIL is involved with local government officials and community leaders as part of its role in supporting the Force.