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25 July, 2024
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First Pyla, now Agios Dometios

Occupation forces persist in 'fait accompli' moves within the buffer zone in Nicosia

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The actions of the occupation authorities within the buffer zone appear to be following a pattern, aiming to challenge the status quo and create a fait accompli. On Monday afternoon, a military detachment, slightly larger than a platoon (approximately 30 to 40 people), entered the demilitarized zone in the suburb of Ayios Dometios in Nicosia and illegally settled in a house known as "the house of Maria." According to reliable information from the area, Turkish occupation forces, wearing civilian clothes, installed a metal pole, likely equipped with a thermal camera. Earlier, the house had been electrified by the installation of a floodlight. In recent days, local residents had noticed an increased presence of Turkish soldiers in the house, raising concerns about the growing occupation forces in the area following the events in Pyla last August.The area where the location "Maria's house" is located within the buffer zone in Agios Dometios as shown by Google Maps. Opposite are Archimidous and Syracuse streets

The government's response was immediate, with government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis stating on Monday afternoon that the government is monitoring the situation and has taken appropriate steps with the UNFICYP administration and the United Nations.  Relevant information has also been sent to the Ministry of Defence, the General Staff/Federal Police, and the Police, who have increased their presence on the adjacent roads "facing" the buffer zone. Letymbiotis emphasized that the incident is being treated as a serious ongoing violation of the buffer zone.

In response to inquiries by the Cyprus News Agency on Monday evening, UNFICYP spokesman Alim Siddiq stated, "We are working with the Turkish Cypriot side to prevent tensions and to ensure that the status quo is maintained."

Geomorphological depiction of the area within the buffer zone in Agios Dometios as seen from Google Earth. It is a hill to the left of the barricade leading to the occupied areas and to the right of the road that connected Agios Dometios with the school of Gregory. The area "faces" the suburb and there was no organized military presence of the occupying forces on these premises

The incident appears to be part of the broader approach of Ankara and the occupation authorities to challenge the status quo within the buffer zone and create a fait accompli. This approach culminated in the Pyla crisis last August and the de-escalation agreement that is pending implementation. Both Pyla and the incident in Agios Dometios are serious obstacles in the effort to break the deadlock and restart talks, with both having tactical and political implications, challenging the status of the buffer zone, Resolution 186 of 1964, and the terms of reference of the peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  UNFICYP

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