The British Army in Cyprus
In 1960, a treaty of establishment allowed Cyprus to become an independent Republic, free from British control. Within the agreement, two Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) at Akrotiri and Dhekelia were identified as real estate that would remain as British sovereign territory and therefore remain under British jurisdiction.
The British Army in Cyprus works to a tri-service headquarters and is tasked with protecting the SBAs and associated retained sites. The Army presence includes two resident infantry battalions: the Joint Service Signals Unit at Ayios Nikolaos, 62 Cyprus Support Squadron Royal Engineers and 16 Flight Army Air Corps (equipped with Gazelle helicopters) at Dhekelia. There are also a variety of supporting arms such as the Royal Logistics Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Military Police and others located in both SBAs.
The Bases, which cover 98 square miles, enable the UK to maintain a permanent military presence at a strategic point in the Eastern Mediterranean. RAF Akrotiri is an important staging post for military aircraft and the communication facilities are an important element of the UK's worldwide links. The Bases can be used for a variety of both military and humanitarian operations.