Cyprus Mail

Turkish antitank weapons drills worry Dherynia residents

By Evie Andreou

DHERYNIA mayor Andros Karayiannis is worried about the antitank weapons drills by the Turkish army very near his town’s area, especially as the United Nations also claim to be surprised by the exercises.

The drills, that started few days ago, have become the cause of fear and insecurity for residents of the area, Karayiannis said yesterday.

“Lately, the Turkish army is conducting drills near our municipality’s occupied beach within breathing space form the barbed wire. These are being carried out with anti-tank weapons and as a result, the explosions are deafening, causing fear and panic among our people and especially children, as schools and kindergartens are adjacent to the buffer zone,” the mayor told the Cyprus News Agency.

He added that due to the explosions, large quantities of sand, which is used as a protective wall around the firing range, is being scattered.

“What happens to the shells. What happens if a soldier misses the target and instead of hitting the protective wall a missile changes course and hits us?” Karayiannis asked.

He added that the municipality has not been properly informed by the UN of the drill, as is the standard procedure and that after he contacted the UN civilian police, he was told that they too were not informed that the drill was to take place.

“Why doesn’t the UN interfere with recommendations to the occupation army but as soon as a pedestrian passes near the fence or near the buffer zone peacekeepers immediately make a protest?” Karayiannis said.

Drills often take place in the area with guns and machine guns, Karayiannis said, and it is rare that antitank weapons are fired.

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