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UN Peacekeepers assaulted by Turkish-Cypriots in buffer zone (video)

UN peacekeepers on Friday were assaulted while trying to block the unauthorised construction of a road from the Turkish Cypriot side inside the buffer zone near Pyla, UNFICYP said.

In an announcement, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) reported assaults against peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles “by personnel from the Turkish Cypriot side.”

“Threats to the safety of UN peacekeepers and damage to UN property are unacceptable and constitute a serious crime under international law which will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” UNFICYP said.

“UNFICYP calls on the Turkish Cypriot side to respect the mission’s mandated authority inside the UN buffer zone, refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions further and to withdraw all personnel and machinery from the UN buffer zone immediately,” it added.

One UN peacekeeper was punched in the face while attempting to block the “unauthorised” construction of a road through the buffer zone between the villages of Pyla and Arsos by Turkish Cypriot authorities.

Three peacekeepers were treated for minor injuries following the incident. The nationality of the peacekeepers is not yet known, but the Pyla area falls in the UN’s “Sector 4”, which is the responsibility of the Slovak contingent.

According to Cyprus media, a total of 12 UN peacekeepers were “violently” pushed back from their positions in the buffer zone, apparently by Turkish Cypriot military and police in plain clothes.

In addition, UN vehicles which were blocking access to the road were dragged out of the way by tractors, while other vehicles were rammed off the road. Three UN vehicles are now in an undriveable state on the side of the road, having suffered damage to their chassis.

Video:

Daily Cyprus Mail understands that those engaging from the Turkish Cypriot side were military and police personnel dressed in plain clothes, including individuals who have engaged in similar conflicts with UN personnel in the past.

It is estimated that between 12 and 24 Turkish Cypriot personnel engaged with the UN, outnumbering the peacekeepers who were stationed in the area.

Despite the widespread condemnation, construction of the road recommenced on Friday afternoon, according to Turkish Cypriot news outlet Yeni Duzen.

the attack was condemned by the Cypriot and the Greek governments as well as by the diplomatic representatives of the UK, France and the United Nations.

 

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