Capital's Royal Scots on peacekeeping mission in Cyprus

For the past four decades British troops have served as UN peacekeepers in Cyprus, patrolling the buffer zone that divides the island.

Monday, 19th March 2018, 12:08 pm
Updated Monday, 19th March 2018, 12:13 pm
Lance Corporal Sebastian Kurewaka from Fiji and Trooper Gavin Logie from Blantyre patrolling the buffer zone. Picture: Greg Macvean

It was 1974 when the Cyprus National Guard staged a coup that led to Turkish military intervention and escalated the civil war between the Greek and Turkish communities on the island.

A heavily restricted buffer zone, controlled by the United Nations, was established 
between the north and south. Almost six months ago a battalion from the Capital’s own Royal Scots Dragoon Guards was deployed to take over from the 7 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps in Nicosia, Cyprus.

The demilitarised zone is restricted to the general public and no Greek or Turkish Cypriots are allowed inside, leaving behind the eerie scenes of a long-abandoned airport, empty buildings and streets criss-crossed with barbed wire.

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Nicosia International Airport. Picture: Greg Macvean

Media officer, Edward Mitchell told the Evening News from Nicosia: “Our job is patrolling the buffer zone, which in our sector is around 30km long.

“We have to provide mediation while also reassuring civilians. We speak on a daily basis with the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.

“It has been very interesting this past six months, being in a different environment. For some this is their first deployment abroad since Afghanistan. But our regiment is like a family and we’ve all helped each other through it.”

More than 200 Royal Scots Dragoon Guards troops will be brought home from March 26.

Nicosia International Airport. Picture: Greg Macvean