Cyprus: UNFICYP Head denied entry to Strovilia

A verbal incident between the Turkish forces of the occupied northern part of Cyprus and the Chief of Staff of the U.N. security corps at the city of Strovilia took place last week. The incident occurred when Colonel Edmund Freely attempted to enter a militarised zone within the Strovilia region.

The Incident

The Head of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) attempted to carry out onsite inspections without securing permission first from the occupation security forces. Occupation authorities did not allow Mr. Freely reach the UNFICYP’s office located in the region of Strovila. They requested from the Colonel to present the necessary documents securing access to the region. Colonel Freely rejected to adhere to the Turkish forces’ request and tensions rose.

The Mandate of UNFICYP Head

The UNFICYP Colonel is the Head of the mission, entrusted with the responsibility to maintain peace and security along the established security perimeter, the so-called Green Line. The Green Line acts as an interim boundary and effectively dissociates the Republic of Cyprus from the Turkish-Cypriot occupied north.

Under the UNFICYP mission mandate, the Colonel carries out onsite inspections to different parts of the Green Line to supervise adherence to established U.N. provisions. A day before the Strovilia incident took place, the Colonel had visited the Green Line in the Famagusta region, without any tensions taking place.

Cypriot authorities initially appeared unaware of the incident which was first publicised in Turkish Cypriot media. Nicosia closely monitors follow-up developments in the region.

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