In the beginning of September, 1992, the Canadian
Airborne Regiment was tasked to participate in the United Nations Operation in
Somalia UNOSOM, called OP Cordon. The force would be 750 strong and participate
in peacekeeping operations based in the Northern Somali port of Bossasso.
As the Airborne Regiment prepared to deploy to Northern
Somalia, the situation in the south deteriorated rapidly with aid shipments
being attacked and looted. Aid agencies pleaded with the UN to send in
troops to stabilize the situation. At the end of November, the United
States offered to send as many as 30,000 troops into Somalia.
Meanwhile, John Watson, the executive director of Care Canada sent a letter to Prime
Minister of Canada, Brian Mulruney asking that the Airborne be sent to the more
heavily populated south where gangs had beendisrupting relief
operations. Watson said in the letterthat the Federal Government is
afraid of the political backlash if Canadian Troops become involved in
fighting. He went on to say
that, "Canada is going to have to assign troops to a place
where they would have to fight and kill people."
On 3 December 1992, the United Nations Security Council passed
Resolution 794 which
under Chapter VII of the Charter of
the United Nations, authorized the Secretary-General and Member States
"to use all necessary means to establish as soon as possible a secure
environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia."
When the Canadian government decided to participate in the peace enforcement
mission, the size of the force being deployed to Somalia was increased to 1250
to increase its combat power. The Airborne Regiment was augmented with a mortar
platoon from the 1st Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment, a squadron from 2
Canadian Engineer Regiment and an armoured squadron from the Royal Canadian
Dragoons. The augmented Airborne regiment was designated the Canadian
Airborne Regiment Battle Group (Cdn AB Regt BG) and formed the largest part of
the Canadian Joint Forces Somalia (CJTFS.) The mission of the CJTFS was to join
the multinational Unified Task Force (UNITAF) in creating a secure environment
for relief operations in Somalia. This mission was named OP Deliverance.
On 13 December, the first troops from the battle group, 2 Commando, flew into
Baledogle to secure the airbase there. On December 28, the remainder of the
battle group began arriving in Mogadishu. Meanwhile, 2 Commando, along with
elements of the US 10 Mountain Division and the US Special Forces secured the
airfield at Beled Weyne.
Beginning on 29 December, the remainder of the AB Regt BG began flying from
Mogadishu to Beled Weyne and relieving the US forces guarding the airstrip there.