Cyprus

Watch: UK's UN Buffer Zone Mission – As You've Never Seen It Before

United Nations soldiers have patrolled the buffer zone in Cyprus since 1974.

More than 200 British soldiers from across 6 Royal Logistic Corps have spent the last few months patrolling the "eerie" and "spooky" Cyprus buffer zone.

Forces News gained exclusive access to film the world's last divided capital – during the day and at night.

For nearly half a century United Nations soldiers have patrolled the decaying streets of the buffer zone in Cyprus.

Supervising ceasefire lines, their role is to prevent further fighting between Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south after the conflict in 1974.

It's a vital operation as the country has remained in limbo for decades with no resolution in sight.

The buffer zone extends more than 180km across the island.

Eight hundred UN troops and more than 60 UN police officers deal with hundreds of incidents each year.

Corporal Sam Webster, 1 Section, 2 Platoon, Op Tosca 34, describes some of the things you're likely to see on patrol.

"This car, 50 years ago, would've been brand new. 30km on the clock, so delivery mileage… now it's covered in dust like an old rag," he said.

Corporal Dean Murray 1 Section, 1 Platoon, Op Tosca 34, added: "It's eerie, it's dark, it's spooky.

"You've got your rodents and your reptiles that live off the land here... I've been in more comfortable places."

Watch: The strange world of the UN buffer zone at night.

Private Waisake Leleca, 1 Section, 2 Platoon, Op Tosca 34, added: "You see unexpected things along the way, so you have to act [accordingly]."

The battlegroup has encountered a variety of scenarios since they've been there.

Forces News joined one of the last patrols before the duty is handed over to 1 Rifles, watching as personnel checked a potential intruder in the buffer zone.

The man did not possess a permit granted to those working on the land, but claimed he had been employed by a farmer assigned to the area.

On constant alert, personnel approached the individual and his vehicle, calling through to UN Police to verify his story.

Once all the inquiries had been made, the worker's story checks out and he was clear to begin his shift.

There's good reason for the UN's thorough protocol, however.

Corporal Sam Webster, 1 Section, 2 Platoon, Op Tosca 34, said illegal migrant activity has happened "twice in the last week alone".

Private George Kwarteng, 1 Section, 1 Platoon, Op Tosca 34, added: "The quick reaction forces were called, we called the UN Police as they're in charge of dealing with the migrants."

The battlegroup will soon be reunited with their families, but it's clear just how much it means to be part of a UN mission.

Corporal Dean Murray, 1 Section, 1 Platoon, Op Tosca 34, said: "I don't think Cyprus wants to see what happened 40 odd years ago, again.

"Equally so, I don't think the rest of the world wants to see it again.

"We will come here and we will continue to patrol these areas and try and prevent and deter anything like that from happening again."

He went on: "It's had its challenges; the heat, away from your family, eight, nine, 10 months at a time, but overall it's a privilege. It's a proud moment for everybody.

"You get to work with people from all over the world. We have 16 different nationalities within Sector 2.

"Overall, it's been a pleasant experience," he added.