Cyprus’ message is that it’s happy to endorse any attack on Syria in an abstract way, so long as it’s not being used as a base for actual strikes on Syria.
100 miles off the Syrian coast, Cyprus is ideally positioned for a strike and indeed the British airbases on the island saw preparations back when it appeared that the UK would be carrying out strikes. The planes there were officially being dispatched for defense, but in practice could be used offensively as well.
Now the UK is out, so it’s easy enough for Cyprus to say that it’s opting out of any war. (Though if the US antes up a sizable foreign aid package, one suspects that the entirely corruptible Cyprus could change its mind.)
It’s not opting completely out as UK intelligence apparatus will be operating from there and participating in the war effort, despite the whole Parliamentary veto.
The UK’s intelligence-gathering assets based in the Mediterranean are to provide the US military with information, as it prepares to carry out cruise missiles strikes against President Bashar al-Assad.
Whitehall sources said Britain’s decision not to take part in attacks punishing the regime for using chemical weapons only covered its Armed Forces, and the sharing of intelligence would continue.
GCHQ’s powerful eavesdropping facilities on Cyprus, around only 100 miles from the Syrian coast, are expected to play a key role in intelligence gathering for military action.
This sounds like a bit more than just intel gathering. And it makes Cyprus a target, though Assad would have to be insane to drag the UK into the war that Cameron has been restrained from.
If all the leaks about the attacks being limited to naval cruise missile strikes are accurate, then Cyprus isn’t really needed. And Cyprus remains agreeable to being used as a port and a transition point by fighters going to other bases. So long as they don’t launch strikes from Cyprus.