Army

Scots Guards Awarded Medals For UN Peacekeeping Mission

The Scots Guards have been on UN peacekeeping duties in Cyprus, patrolling the demilitarised corridor that divides the island.

Guardsmen of 1st Battalion Scots Guards have taken part in a parade and medal ceremony at their base in Aldershot.

The soldiers have recently returned from a six-month tour in Cyprus on a United Nations deployment on Op Tosca 29, patrolling the demilitarised corridor that divides the island.

It follows a ceremony in Cyprus last month where the Scots Guards were presented with medals for their contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.

Personnel were presented with their medals alongside soldiers from other nations contributing to the UN peacekeeping mission.

For most of these guardsmen, the recognition for their work as peacekeepers was their first medal.

"They've done a fantastic job and for the rest of their lives I think that medal is something they will be proud of," says Lieutenant Colonel James Leask, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion the Scots Guards.

"It's always important - it's what you join the Army to do, deploy on operations and earn medals."

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With a background of bagpipes and drums, hundreds of UN peacekeepers from a dozen nations gathered inside a hangar at Nicosia's abandoned International Airport for the annual winter medal parade.

"Thank you for your service, your professionalism, your commitment to this mission," said UN Force Commander, Major General Cheryl Pearce.

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Bagpipe players inside Nicosia's abandoned international airport.

The Scots Guards been patrolling Sector 2 - the section of the buffer zone that runs through the middle of Nicosia.

"Whilst you're patrolling you sense the old sort of life that was here," says Lance Corporal Rhyan Sasbry.

"There's so much potential within the area and you can that there's still people that want to keep that life going within it."

In January, the UN extended its peacekeeping mission in Cyprus for another six months.

Recently, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders met for the first time since July 2017 as efforts continue to restart negotiations and find a long-term settlement that will satisfy both communities while re-unifying the island.

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Scots Guards part of the UN peacekeeping mission to Cyprus walking the streets of Nicosia.