130 Irish troops have returned home from the Golan Heights and Syria this evening after a six-month deployment.

Their flight from Syria via Beirut landed around 8pm and they were greeted by hundreds of family members and friends waiting for them.

They had been due to arrive in Dublin on Thursday but their return, from Syria via Beirut, was delayed until today.

It is the second time in six months that troops have been delayed returning home. This time it was because of problems securing landing clearance in Beirut.

The Irish troops form part of the UN peacekeeping force (UNDOF), tasked with supervising an 80km-long zone of separation, between Israel and Syria.

Those returning are the 58th group of Irish Defence Forces personnel to be sent to the region, and the first Irish unit to deploy directly to Syria since the UN evacuated personnel from the area in 2014, because of the war in Syria.

Those returning this evening are from different units in the Army and Air Corps, the majority of them are from the 7th Infantry Battalion based in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in 1967. The UN and international community consider it occupied territory.

UN peacekeepers have operated in the region since 1974, following the disengagement agreement between Israeli and Syrian forces.

Last month, US President Donald Trump broke with international agreement and recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Yesterday, speaking in Las Vegas at the Republican Jewish Coalition, he said he made the decision after getting a "quick history lesson" on the Middle East.

Irish Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe does not share the US president's position on recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

UN peacekeepers operating in the area of separation between Syria and Israel can only use force in self-defence.

The group returning from peacekeeping duty today have be replaced by the 59th Infantry Group.