Operation SPIRAL

International Information

International Operation Name: SPIRAL

International Mission Name: SPIRAL

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Europe

Location: Cyprus

Start Date: Would be late November/early December 1991

Mandate: To clear up to 16 minefields in the buffer zone controlled by United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Mission Notes: In 1990, the United Nations (UN) asked Canada if a field engineering unit could be provided for six months to clear mines in the buffer zone in Cyprus. Up to sixteen minefields in the UN-controlled zone would be cleared. An engineering team determined the scope of the task, with the report being forwarded to the UN in March 1991. Planning thus went forward to deploy elements of 4 Combat Engineer Regiment to augment Canadian Contingent UNFICYP (CC UNFICYP). 

The initial planning called for 150 personnel to be deployed for six months; however, a 4 Canadian Engineer Regiment (CER) reconnaissance team suggested increasing the establishment to 220, but decreasing the time in theatre to four months. Twenty of the positions could be allocated to Reservists. The planned start date for the operation would be late November or early December 1991. An op order was issued in October 1991 to allow commencement of planning and training; however, events beyond the control of the Canadian Forces (CF) were to negate the operation. 

While the CF was preparing to deploy, negotiations were underway at the UN to ensure that issues such as funding and acceptance of the operation were resolved. Turkish authorities would not allow the UN to perform this operation, ostensibly because it could change the nature of the military balance. The operation was therefore cancelled on 19 November 1991.

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