Crews on Wednesday began searching for the remains of Greek Cypriots killed during the Turkish aerial bombardment of the Tylliria area in August 1964.
At present, the search will focus around the location of a makeshift hospital in Pachyammos that was hit with napalm incendiary bombs.
“We are here today because 55 years later, we must … carry out this exhumation because we must provide answers to the relatives’ many questions,” presidential commissioner Photis Photiou said.
The case is not related with the ongoing bicommunal programme to locate and identify missing persons.
The Greek Cypriot side has carried out several other similar exhumations at various locations where people known to have been killed in battle had been buried.
The search is expected to last one month, and experts do not expect to locate complete skeletons due to the intensity of the bombardment and the use of napalm, Photiou said.
Photiou said the authorities had some figures in mind concerning the fallen but declined to disclose them for the time being.
A UN report based on government figures says 53 Greek Cypriots were killed and 125 injured in battles with Turkish Cypriot forces and the bombardment of the area by the Turkish air force. Among them were 28 civilians who were killed and 56 wounded. The report had no figure for the Turkish Cypriot toll.
Photiou said the known victims were members of the Paphos medical corps, headed by doctor Demetris Mavrogenis.
Some 12 or 13 people were killed when a napalm bomb levelled the house used as a hospital. Some remains belonging to five individuals, including Mavrogenis, were collected from the crater left behind and were buried at Ktima.
Photiou said the search will expand to other locations in the area, including the Pomos forest, where according to information, some remains may have been buried.