Cyprus does not expect UK base to play a major role in Syria action
NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus' foreign minister said on Tuesday he did not expect a British airbase on the Mediterranean island to play a major role in any military strike against Syria.
British newspapers have speculated that RAF Akrotiri, which lies on the southern tip of Cyprus, could be used. A spokesman for Britain's bases in Cyprus said there had been no upsurge in flight activity at the facility.
Western powers are weighing up options for a possible strike following a chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb last week, which the United States said it believed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for.
"I have the impression that the British bases won't play any primary role.... because they are not needed but we will have to see," Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told state radio.
Kasoulides said he had received a pledge "there would not be any surprises" from countries involved in any action against Syria. He did not elaborate.
Britain maintains two military bases in Cyprus, a former colony which lies less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Syria at its closest point.
Their role has traditionally been to support operations in the region, and not for offensive purposes.
But Kasoulides said the island had to take a stand.
"The people of Syria don't deserve to be left at the mercy of attacks of this kind, weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons... It's a disgrace for humanity not to be in a position to do something."
(Writing By Michele Kambas; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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