Jordanian military sends helicopters to help put out Cyprus fires

Ties between the two countries have improved in the past several years

A firefighting helicopter heads for a blaze near Alassa, north-west of Limassol in Cyprus. Reuters
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Jordan's military has sent three helicopters to help put out fatal fires in Cyprus

At least four people were killed in blazes on the island last month. On Friday, local media reported that smoke had blanketed Limassol as fires raged in the forested Alassa region north-west of the city.

The fires burnt through an area of three square kilometres and forced 100 people to flee their homes, the Cyprus Mail said.

Two Super Pumas and one MI26 belonging to the Jordanian Air Force have arrived in Cyprus and participated "in the efforts to extinguish the fires", the official Jordanian news agency.

Cypriot media reported that the helicopters were sent to the Andreas Papandreou airbase, about 40km west of Limassol.

The Jordanian military, which is mainly trained by the US, has boosted its natural disaster response in the past decade, with its troops part of several UN peacekeeping and monitoring missions.

The kingdom has improved ties in the past few years with Cyprus and Greece, countries wary of increased Turkish influence in the region.

Last week, King Abdullah II met Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides in Amman.

The meeting, also attended by the king's son Crown Prince Hussein, focused on improving relations in the sectors of energy, trade, industry and tourism, the Royal Court said.

The leaders of Jordan, Greece and Cyprus have met several times since 2018 as Ankara contested maritime areas claimed by the two Mediterranean countries.

Updated: August 06, 2023, 8:53 AM