NICOSIA, Cyprus — The U.K. will build a new communications facility on one of two bases it maintains on the Eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, a British Defence Ministry spokesman said Friday.

The spokesman told The Associated Press that the purpose of the “small-scale infrastructure project” is to “modernize communications infrastructure and increase our resilience.”

The spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, gave no further details. The facility will be built at a disused site at Dhekelia Garrison on Cyprus’ southeastern corner.

The U.K. retained the bases when Cyprus gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960.

The bases incorporate a large airfield at RAF Akrotiri and an important electronic intelligence gathering station at Ayios Nicolaos situated around 175 kilometers (109 miles) from Syria’s Mediterranean coastline.

Notably, Britain has projected its military strength in the region since it exited the European Union on Feb. 1, 2020, with large naval deployments, such as its newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, from which cutting-edge F-35 jets operate.

British military aircraft have also flown from RAF Akrotiri to assist in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

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