NICOSIA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on Friday condemned "the assaults against UN peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles by personnel from the Turkish Cypriot side."
In a statement, the UNFICYP confirmed the attack by Turkish Cypriots in the buffer zone dividing the eastern Mediterranean island. "Threats to the safety of UN peacekeepers and damage to UN property are unacceptable and constitute a serious crime under international law which will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," it said.
The incident took place inside the buffer zone near Pyla, or Pile in Turkish, a village near the southeastern coast of Cyprus, which is a mixed-population community inhabited by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The UN peacekeepers, according to the UNFICYP, were on a mission to "block unauthorized construction work in the area" after Turkish Cypriot administration announced its plan to construct an 11 km long road between Pyla and another village located in the Turkish-controlled Cypriot area.
No details about the attack were given by the UN force, but local media reported that three UN peacekeepers were treated for minor injuries as a group of 12 peacekeepers were violently pushed back from their positions.
Several UN vehicles blocking access to the road were pushed out of the way by tractors and three of them became unusable.
On Thursday, UNFICYP warned in a statement against the unauthorized construction activities inside the UN buffer zone. It also called on "the Turkish Cypriot side to respect the mission's mandated authority inside the UN buffer zone, refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions further and to withdraw all personnel and machinery from the UN buffer zone immediately."
The Cypriot government has strongly protested to the United Nations against the road construction, saying it would constitute a serious violation of the status quo.
UNFICYP has been in control of the buffer zone since it was demarcated under United Nations Security Council resolutions, following a Turkish military operation against Cyprus in 1974.