France and Cyprus are conducting naval maneuvers off Cyprus as the east Mediterranean island nation is embroiled in a tense dispute with Turkey over offshore gas drilling.
Two French frigates heading to Syria plan to take part in “routine” exercises in Cypriot waters, a French military spokesman, Col. Frederic Barbry, said Saturday.
The frigates are “La Fayette” and “Auvergne”.
The “La Fayette” (F710), La Fayette class is a general purpose frigate.
The “Auvergne” (D654), FREMM Aquitaine class, is an anti submarine frigate.
One ship arrived Thursday and the other is arrived Sunday. France, part of the U.S.-led military coalition, maintains a naval presence off the coast of Syria for monitoring and coordination purposes, Barbry said.
The maneuvers come as a Turkish drill ship, which is escorted by warships, is poised to start drilling inside waters where Cyprus has licensed French energy company Total and Italian partner Eni to explore for gas.