Britain sends six RAF jets to Cyprus in defensive role

LONDON Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:41am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is sending six RAF Typhoon jets to Cyprus as a defensive measure amid growing tensions over Syria and talks of Western military intervention.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said the air-to-air interceptor jets would be deployed to the British Akrotiri base in Cyprus on Thursday.

"This is purely a prudent and precautionary measure to ensure the protection of UK interests and the defence of our Sovereign Base Areas at a time of heightened tension in the wider region," the spokesman said.

"This is a movement of defensive assets operating in an air-to-air role only. They are not deploying to take part in any military action against Syria."

Cyprus is just 200 km (120 miles) from the Syrian coast. Britain also has warships in the Mediterranean.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; editing by Stephen Addison)

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