Demilitarized zone

Last updated

The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam in 1969 DMZ1.jpg
The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam in 1969

A demilitarized zone (DMZ or DZ [1] ) is an area in which treaties or agreements between nations, military powers or contending groups forbid military installations, activities or personnel. A DMZ often lies along an established frontier or boundary between two or more military powers or alliances. A DMZ may sometimes form a de facto international border, such as the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Other examples of demilitarized zones are a 190-kilometre-wide (120 mi) area between Iraq and Kuwait, Antarctica (preserved for scientific exploration and study) and outer space (space more than 100 km or 62 mi from the earth's surface).


Many demilitarized zones are considered neutral territory because neither side is allowed to control it, even for non-combat administration. Some zones remain demilitarized after an agreement has awarded control to a state which (under the DMZ terms) had originally ceded its right to maintain military forces in the disputed territory. It is also possible for powers to agree on the demilitarization of a zone without formally settling their respective territorial claims, enabling the dispute to be resolved by peaceful means such as diplomatic dialogue or an international court.

Several demilitarized zones have also unintentionally become wildlife preserves because their land is unsafe for construction or less exposed to human disturbances (including hunting). Examples include the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Cypriot Demilitarized Zone (The Green Line), and the former Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone which divided Vietnam into two countries (North Vietnam and South Vietnam) from 21 July 1954 to 2 July 1976.

Current demilitarized zones

Former demilitarized zones

Historical map of the promontory of Gibraltar. Gibraltar map.png
Historical map of the promontory of Gibraltar.

See also

Related Research Articles

Sinai Peninsula Peninsula in Egypt between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea

The Sinai Peninsula, or simply Sinai, is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a land bridge between Asia and Africa. Sinai has a land area of about 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi) and a population of approximately 600,000 people. Administratively, the vast majority of the area of the Sinai Peninsula is divided into two governorates: the South Sinai Governorate and the North Sinai Governorate. Three other governorates span the Suez Canal, crossing into African Egypt: Suez Governorate on the southern end of the Suez Canal, Ismailia Governorate in the center, and Port Said Governorate in the north.

United Nations Truce Supervision Organization UN peacekeeping mission in the Middle East

The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) is an organization founded on 29 May 1948 for peacekeeping in the Middle East. Established amidst the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, its primary task was initially to provide the military command structure to the peacekeeping forces in the Middle East to enable the peacekeepers to observe and maintain the ceasefire, and in assisting the parties to the Armistice Agreements in the supervision of the application and observance of the terms of those Agreements. The organization's structure and role has evolved over time as a result of the various conflicts in the region and at times UNTSO personnel have been used to rapidly deploy to other areas of the Middle East in support of other United Nations operations. The command structure of the UNTSO was maintained to cover the later peacekeeping organisations of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to which UNTSO continues to provide military observers.

1949 Armistice Agreements Formal ceasefire which ended the 1948 Arab–Israeli War

The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of armistice agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria to formally end the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and establish armistice lines between Israeli forces and Jordanian-Iraqi forces, also known as the Green Line.

Egypt–Israel peace treaty 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel

The Egypt–Israel peace treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., United States on 26 March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords. The Egypt–Israel treaty was signed by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, and witnessed by United States president Jimmy Carter.

Panmunjom Place in Gyeonggi, South Korea or Place in North Hwanghae, North Korea

Panmunjom, also known as Panmunjeom, now located in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea or Kaesong, North Hwanghae Province, North Korea, was a village just north of the de facto border between North and South Korea, where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement that paused the Korean War was signed. The building where the armistice was signed still stands.

Korean Demilitarized Zone Demilitarized zone running across the Korean Peninsula

The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th parallel north. The demilitarized zone (DMZ) is a border barrier that divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half. It was established to serve as a buffer zone between the countries of North and South Korea under the provisions of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953, an agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations Command.

Military Demarcation Line

The Military Demarcation Line (MDL), sometimes referred to as the Armistice Line, is the land border or demarcation line between North Korea and South Korea. On either side of the line is the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The MDL and DMZ were established by the Armistice.

Philadelphi Route

The Philadelphi Route, also called Philadelphia Corridor, refers to a narrow strip of land, 14 km in length, situated along the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt. Under the provisions of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty of 1979, it was established as a buffer zone controlled and patrolled by Israeli forces. One purpose of the Philadelphi Route was to prevent the movement of illegal materials and people between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Palestinians, in cooperation with some Egyptians, have built smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphi Route to move these into the Gaza Strip.

Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone Demarcation line separating North and South Vietnam from 1954-76

The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was a demilitarized zone established as a dividing line between North and South Vietnam from July 1954 to 1976 as a result of the First Indochina War. During the Vietnam War (1955-1975) it became important as the battleground demarcation separating North from South Vietnamese territories. The zone ceased to exist with the reunification of Vietnam on 2 July 1976, though the area remains dangerous due to the numerous undetonated explosives it contains.

Borders of Israel Political boundaries between Israel and neighboring states

The modern borders of Israel exist as the result both of past wars and of diplomatic agreements between the State of Israel and its neighbours as well as colonial powers. Only two of Israel's five total potential land borders are internationally recognized and uncontested, while the other three remain disputed; the majority of its border disputes are rooted in territorial changes that came about as a result of the 1967 Arab–Israeli War, which saw Israel occupy large swathes of territory from its rivals. Israel's two formally recognized and confirmed borders exist with Egypt and Jordan since the 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty and the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty, while its borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories remain internationally recognized as contested.

A political demarcation line is a geopolitical border, often agreed upon as part of an armistice or ceasefire.

Israel–Syria Mixed Armistice Commission commission overseeing Israeli–Syrian ceasefire after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war

The Israel–Syria Mixed Armistice Commission (ISMAC) was the United Nations commission for observing the armistice between Israel and Syria after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, as part of the Mixed Armistice Commissions (MAC). The fourth and last truce agreement, the 1949 armistice agreement, was signed between Israel and Syria on 20 July 1949 on Hill 232 near Mahanayim, ending the formal conflict in the former Mandatory Palestine. The Israeli side was represented by Lieutenant Colonel Mordechai Maklef, Yehoshua Penman and Shabtai Rosenne, while the Syrian side was represented by Colonel Fawzi Selo, Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Nasser and Captain Afif Sizri. While the armistice agreements with Syria concluded the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, they did not mark the end of the Arab–Israeli conflict.

Auja al-Hafir Place in Beersheba, Mandatory Palestine

Auja al-Hafir, was an ancient road junction close to water wells in the western Negev and eastern Sinai. It was the traditional grazing land of the 'Azazme tribe. The border crossing between Egypt and Ottoman/British Palestine, about 60 km (37 mi) south of Gaza, was situated there. Today it is the site of Nitzana and the Ktzi'ot military base in the Southern District of Israel.

1949–1956 Palestinian exodus

The 1949–1956 Palestinian exodus was the continuation of the 1948 exodus of Palestinian Arabs from Israeli-controlled territory after the signing of the ceasefire agreements. This period of the exodus was characterised predominantly by forced expulsion during the consolidation of the state of Israel and ever increasing tension along the ceasefire lines ultimately leading to the 1956 Suez Crisis.

The al-Hamma Incident refers to an event which happened on 4 April 1951 and resulted in the death of seven IDF soldiers being killed by Syrian military forces. The action occurred during an Israeli attempt to enforce its claimed sovereignty over the demilitarized zone along the Syrian border.

The origins of the Six-Day War, which was fought between June 5 and June 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, include both longstanding and immediate issues. At the time of the Six-Day War, the earlier foundation of Israel, the resulting Palestinian refugee issue, and Israel's participation in the invasion of Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956 continued to be significant grievances for the Arab world. Arab nationalists, led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, continued to be hostile to Israel's existence and made grave threats against its Jewish population. By the mid-1960s, relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors had deteriorated to the extent that a number of border clashes had taken place.

Operation Volcano (Israeli raid)

Operation Volcano, also known as Operation Sabcha, was a large-scale Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military operation carried out on the night of November 2–3, 1955 against Egyptian military positions in and around the Nitzana/Auja vicinity. The operation was successful and resulted in the permanent expulsion of Egyptian forces from the Demilitarized Zone. Eighty-one Egyptian soldiers were killed and fifty-five others were taken prisoner. There were five Israeli fatalities.

Israeli Military Governorate Military government system that followed the Six-Day War

The Israeli Military Governorate was a military governance system established following the Six-Day War in June 1967, in order to govern the civilian population of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Western part of Golan Heights. The governance was based on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which provides guidelines for military rule in occupied areas. East Jerusalem was the only exception from this order, and it was added to Jerusalem municipal area as early as 1967, and extending Israeli law to the area effectively annexing it in 1980. During this period, the UN and many sources referred to the military governed areas as Occupied Arab Territories.

Idlib demilitarization (2018–2019) Multinational military agreement

The Idlib demilitarization was an agreement between Turkey and Russia to create a demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Syria's rebel held Idlib Governorate, to be patrolled by military forces from Russia and Turkey. On 17 September 2018, the Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reached an agreement to create a buffer zone in Idlib.


  1. Oren, Michael (3 June 2003). Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Presidio Press. p. 7. ISBN   978-0345461926.
  2. "art. 1", Antarctic Treaty , 1959
  3. Heintz, Jim (17 September 2018). "Turkey, Russia agree on demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib region". Chicago Tribune . Archived from the original on 8 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  4. "art. 1", Korean Armistice Agreement , 1953
  5. Walker, Philip (24 June 2011). "The world's most dangerous borders". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017.
  6. "Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand)" (PDF). International Court of Justice . 18 July 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  7. Camp David Accords – Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archived 3 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. 10 Tactical Air Group: Canadian Contingent Multinational Force and Observers Handbook (unclassified), page A-1. DND, Ottawa, 1986.
  9. Keinon, Herb (9 August 2012). "Israel OKs Egypt attack helicopters in Sinai". Jerusalem Post.
  10. Issacharoff, Avi (16 August 2012). "Egypt deployed troops in Sinai without Israel's prior approval". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  11. Keinon, Herb (21 August 2012). "Int'l force in Sinai quiet amid concern of violations". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  12. "Israel approves Egypt's request to increase forces in Sinai". Jerusalem Post. 15 July 2013.
  13. Original Spitsbergen Treaty
  14. "Sudan agrees demilitarised zone for north-south border". BBC News . BBC. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  15. Ahmed, Amir; Botelho, Greg (9 March 2013). "Sudan, South Sudan agree to pull troops from demilitarized zone". Cable News Network . Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  16. "Extracts relating to Article 98 of the Charter of the United Nations: Supplement No 5 (1970–1978)" (PDF). Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs. United Nations. pp. 275–279. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2006.
  17. "Palestine Maps" (PDF). Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs . Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2006. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  18. Kurdistan24. "US and Turkey reach accord, but concerns of Syrian Kurds continue". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  19. Pitarakis, Lefteris; Mroue, Bassem. "Turkey launches assault on Kurdish fighters in Syria, after US forces step aside". Retrieved 9 October 2019.