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 and 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.
British soldiers also serve with United Nations Forces in Cyprus. There is no operational link between British soldiers serving in the SBAs and the British contingent of the United Nations Force in Cyprus.
These soldiers serve on an unaccompanied six month tour of duty as United Nations’ soldiers and are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Buffer Zone that runs between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The Command includes the capital Nicosia, and soldiers wear UN berets.