Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that Britain is going to let France use its RAF base, RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus for bombing raids against Islamic State in Syria.
RAF Akrotiri is a large Royal Air Force station. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a Sovereign Base Area. It is one of the few full-scale RAF stations left outside the United Kingdom.
Akrotiri has played a crucial role during Britain’s recent operations in the Middle East. During both major campaigns against Iraq, in 1991 and 2003, and also during the no-fly zone operations between, it operated as a staging post for British forces en route to the region.
A constant problem of airfields located outside the territory of the country whose forces are based there is that of overflight rights. The UK has a treaty with Cyprus that guarantees British access to Akrotiri in any circumstances. Under the treaty, the stations employ many locals and contribute to the local economy.