Europe

Official: UK's Cyprus army bases 'more important than ever'

  • British Defense Minister Michael Fallon, right, and with his Cyprus' counterpart Christoforos Fokaides, left, leave after the meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Britain's defense secretary says the role played the UK's two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    British Defense Minister Michael Fallon, right, and with his Cyprus' counterpart Christoforos Fokaides, left, leave after the meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Britain's defense secretary says the role played the UK's two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Defense Minister Michael Fallon arrives at the presidential palace for a meeting with a Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in capital Nicosia, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Britain's defense secretary says the role played the UK's two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    British Defense Minister Michael Fallon arrives at the presidential palace for a meeting with a Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in capital Nicosia, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Britain's defense secretary says the role played the UK's two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Defense Minister Michael Fallon, right, talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, left, during their meeting at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Britain's defense secretary says the role played the UK's two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    British Defense Minister Michael Fallon, right, talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, left, during their meeting at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Britain's defense secretary says the role played the UK's two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

Britain's defense secretary says the U.K.'s two military bases on Cyprus are "more important than ever" because of the rise of extremist terror and mass migration flows coming from the region.

Michael Fallon said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Friday that coalition forces will this year aim to strike the "decisive blow" against the Islamic State group.

He said British warplanes stationed at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus have made 1,200 strikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria in the last two years.

Fallon said IS now holds less than 10 percent of territory in Iraq.

The British official hailed the "larger role" Cyprus is playing in safeguarding security in the eastern Mediterranean.

Fallon's Cyprus trip is the first official visit to the island by a British defense secretary.