An official from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognized only by Turkey, said earlier on Monday that authorities were studying debris from an unidentified flying object that may have been a missile that crashed north of Nicosia.
An object that hit northern Cyprus on Sunday night is allegedly a “Russian-made” air defense missile, Kudret Ozersay, foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, wrote on Facebook on Monday.
“The first assessment is that a Russian-made missile, part of the air defense system, which was activated last night in the face of an air strike against Syria”, he wrote.
He alleged that the projectile could be “a Russian-made S-200 air defense” missile, which supposedly “completed its range” and fell on the Mediterranean island after missing its target during a purported Israeli raid on Syria.
Ozersay assumed marking on the retrieved debris matched that found on pieces of a Russian-made S-200 missile that crashed in Gaziantep, Turkey, in July 2018.
While the official added that he will continue to inform the public about the incident, neither the Russian, nor the Syrian Defence Ministries have commented on the allegations yet.
It was earlier reported that an explosion occurred around 1 a.m. (22:00 GMT) in the region of Tashkent, north of Cyprus’ capital, Nicosia, causing no casualties.
“Initial findings indicate the object that caused the explosion was either an aircraft carrying explosives or a direct explosive (missile). The writings and signs on the debris will allow us to understand exactly what happened soon”, Ozersay said.
Cyprus has been partitioned since 1974, when Turkey occupied the island’s northern part, later proclaiming the region the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Ankara as an independent state. The Republic of Cyprus is internationally recognized as the sole legitimate state.