Official: UK's Cyprus army bases 'more important than ever'

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 10, 2017 5:52 AM
Official: UK's Cyprus army bases 'more important than ever'

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Britain's defense secretary says the U.K.'s two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region.

Michael Fallon said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Friday that coalition forces will this year aim to strike the "decisive blow" against the Islamic State group.

He said British warplanes stationed at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus have made 1,200 strikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria in the last two years.

Fallon said IS now holds less than 10 percent of territory in Iraq.

The British official hailed the "larger role" Cyprus is playing in safeguarding security in the eastern Mediterranean.

Fallon's Cyprus trip is the first official visit to the island by a British defense secretary.