AKROTIRI, Cyprus (Reuters) - Cyprus distanced itself on Saturday from Britain’s air strikes on Syrian targets, saying it had no prior briefing or involvement in the action launched from a British sovereign air base on the Mediterranean island.
Four Royal Air Force Tornado jets from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus fired Storm Shadow missiles at a military facility near Homs where it was assessed that Syria had stockpiled chemicals, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.
“Cyprus did not have any participation in this operation and conditions of full security exist in our country,” Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said in a statement.
“The Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus have been monitoring the situation from the first moment, however, Cyprus did not receive any prior briefing,” he said.
Neither the airspace of Cyprus, or its flight information region - a huge swathe of eastern Mediterranean airspace - was used, he said.
“We hope that it will subsequently be possible for military operations to be avoided in Syria and that sources of danger in this neighboring country will be addressed with peaceful means and through dialogue.”
Britain retains two sovereign bases in Cyprus, a colony until independence in 1960. There are about 3,100 British troops on the island.
Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Angus MacSwan