Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA, Cyprus-Mail.com)
“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 (FIR) – a huge swathe of eastern Mediterranean airspace – was used, he said.
Prodromou said earlier in the week that Nicosia had received no requests by other countries to provide facilities for military operations against the Syrian regime.
Cyprus essentially has no say in the British bases being used for military operations in the area but authorities are usually informed whenever missions will be undertaken.
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 the British base at Akrotiri.
Speaking later on Saturday on the sidelines of a DISY Youth Conference Prodromou conceded that the Republic of Cyprus has no control over the operations from the British bases but, otherwise, the use of the Nicosia FOR was minimal.
“This military operation used the southern sea”, he added.
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.
May cast the strike as “limited and targeted” and came after intelligence indicated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for an attack using chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago.
May said the missile strike, designed to minimise civilian casualties, was aimed at deterring further use of chemical weapons and was not an attempt to topple the Syrian government.
“This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change,” May said in statement made from her country residence at Chequers just minutes after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the strikes from the White House.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the mission had been highly successful and implied that no further action was imminent.
The air strikes did not affect any flight schedules to and from Cyprus, said the spokesman of Hermes airports, Adamos Aspris.
Aspris said on Saturday morning that the flight schedules of both the Larnaca and Paphos airports were running smoothly.
“There are no cancellations or flight delays,” he said.
The Civil Aviation department also reiterated that the air strikes had not affected “the safe and smooth air traffic management” of the Nicosia FIR.
“The situation in the Nicosia FIR was completely controlled during (the Syria) operations and service provision continued smoothly and as normal and no incidents were observed,” it said.
The transport ministry, it said, was in constant contact with both European organisations and the competent authorities of neighbouring states.
Main opposition, Communist Akel, was highly critical of the government which it said had allowed Cyprus, “a victim of similar machinations”, to be used as a base for such attacks.
The administration of Nicos Anastasiades was not entitled to involve Cyprus in any way “in the crime against the people of Syria”.
The party said it was not legitimate for the UK government to use the British bases and the airspace of the Republic of Cyprus for any military operations against neighbouring states and peoples.
It described the air strikes on targets in Syria as illegal and a “violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria”.
Akel called for a mass anti-war rally on Monday outside the US embassy in Nicosia organised by the Cyprus Peace Council to protest over the strikes.
Justice Minister, Ionas Nicolaou, said on Saturday that police for precautionary reasons have stepped up security measures in places “relating to countries involved in the Syria crisis”.
He gave reassurances that Cyprus faces no risks.
Nicolaou said that patrols had intensified around these places on Friday and additional measures were taken following the air strikes. This concerns embassies, schools, companies, residences and other areas concerning interests of the countries involved, such as the US, Russia, the UK, France and Israel, he said.
“What we are basically seeking through these measures is to protect the interests of these countries, which may be at risk from the acts of some people who are in Cyprus,” Nicolaou said.
He stressed there was no information of an external threat and no danger from such a thing.