Troops in Shropshire prepare for UN operation

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Hundreds of troops have been presented with the blue beret of the United Nations in a special ceremony at a Shropshire army base.

The soldiers from 101 Force Support Battalion, including the Coventry-based 126 Field Company, are due to fly out to Cyprus next month.

They will be part of a UN peace-keeping force manning the buffer zone separating Greek and Turkish forces.

The troops have spent the last fortnight training in Nesscliffe.

The unit, part of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers corps, is due to take up the lead role with more than 260 personnel, including both regular and reserve soldiers.

The peace-keeping mission, named Operation Tosca, is being led by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Herben.

He said: "Within the walled city of Nicosia the ceasefire lines are literally the width of an old cobbled street.

"So the two opposition forces are almost close enough to touch each other with bayonets.

"At any stage there could be some tit-for-tat that could lead to something more serious. We are there to nip it in the bud and keep the situation calm."

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