Suspected Russian-made stray missile explodes over northern Cyprus

01 Juillet, 2019, 16:43 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

The freak incident would be the first time that Cyprus has been caught in the crosshairs of military operations in the Middle East despite its proximity to the region. The country's internationally recognised government is seated in the Greek Cypriot south.

Syrian regime's official news agency SANA claimed that Israel conducted airstrikes in the outskirts of Damascus and in some military targets in Homs city.

"The first assessment is that a Russian-made missile, which was part of the air defence system that took place last night in the face of an air attack against Syria, completed its range and fell into our country after it missed", Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozersay said in a Facebook post on Monday.

Ozersay said the missile likely blew up in flight because there was no impact crater and pieces of the object were found several kilometres from the main debris field outside the village of Tashkent, or Vouno, as it's known by its Greek name.

Syria is roughly 150 miles away from the impact area at its closest point, but the coastal areas near Tartus and Latakia, where Russian Federation has a large presence, are not usually targeted by the Israeli Air Force.

It appears the missile was sacked from an air-defence system guarding against an Israeli strike on Syria and it's the first time Cyprus has been caught in the crosshairs of the war in Syria.

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He said: "It is evident it is not something stemming from our soil".

Cypriot Defence Minister Savvas Angelides said government authorities are investigating the blast but refrained from speculating on its cause.

Ozersay added:"Initial findings indicate the object that caused the explosion was either an aircraft carrying explosives or a direct explosive (missile). The writings and signs on the debris will allow us to understand exactly what happened soon".

He said: "An assessment from the pictures made public shows the base of its wings. Syria uses Russian-made missiles, so a not-so-safe assessment would be it was.an S-200 (missile)".

But residents told Cypriot media they had seen a light in the sky and then heard three loud explosions. Tashkent is a small village in the foothills of a mountain range rimming northern Cyprus.

Jamming technology could have diverted the missile, he said.

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