Coalition forces cautious about collateral damage

Updated 30 March 2015
0

Coalition forces cautious about collateral damage

The Defense Ministry reiterated on Saturday that the coalition forces conducting military operations in Yemen are very much cautious about avoiding collateral damage and accused Houthis of targeting homes and civilians to maximize casualties with the intention of blaming them on airstrikes.
Addressing a press conference at the Riyadh air base, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, consultant at the office of defense minister, said: “To avoid collateral damage, we are using precise intelligence inputs and reconnaissance planes to monitor Houthis’ movement and target their supply routes.”
He asserted that Houthi militants are targeting homes, causing collateral damage.
With the help of a powerpoint presentation and graphics, Al-Assiri pointed out the details with maps of Yemeni cities on how the coalition forces are successfully carrying out their operations.
“The safety of Yemeni people is our top priority and we only wish to restore the legitimate government and save Yemen from Houthi militants,” he underlined.
When Arab News asked if cluster bombs are being used in the airstrikes to completely suppress Houthi militants, he said: “We are not using cluster bombs at all.”
Responding to a query on F-15 fighter planes and if other war planes are being used in the airstrikes, Al-Assiri said that Saudi Arabia is not carrying out the military operations alone. It is a coalition of 11 nations and various fighter planes from different coalition partners are in operation, he pointed out.
He asserted that the operations will continue until the main objective of restoring the legitimate government to power is achieved.
He also said that the fighters jets would continue to pound Houthi positions until they are crippled completely.
The spokesman said that the Houthis were continuing to advance toward Saudi borders but Apache helicopters of coalition forces had struck positions to prevent a buildup of the militants.
Asked whether a ground operation is under consideration, he said that an announcement will be made if any such decision is made by the coalition.
Commenting on reports that Houthis were using ballistic and scud missiles to target coalition fighters, he observed that Yemeni army had stocks of such missiles which were taken into possession by the militants.
But he said coalition troops targeted their stockpiles and camps to destroy all their weaponry.
“We believe we have destroyed most of their stockpiles in our military operation,” he said.
He pointed out that Houthis are not like regular armies. They are using unusual warfare techniques, he said.
“We aim to completely suppress their attempts,” he added.
He reiterated that the Saudi-led airstrikes have destroyed most of the ballistic missiles that were in the possession of Houthis.
“We understand that we have destroyed their capabilities substantially,” said the spokesman, while confirming that the national air force and countries allied in Operation Decisive Storm have complete control of Yemen’s skies.


Members of a Riyadh firm visit hospitals to help bring happiness during the holiday

Officials from the ‘Hospitality Board’ and ‘Smile’ celebrated Eid Al-Fitr with orphans in Riyadh.
Updated 45 min 7 sec ago
0

Members of a Riyadh firm visit hospitals to help bring happiness during the holiday

  • “We wish to continue with such visits consistently between Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha”
  • Week-long festivities to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr mesmerized Riyadh residents with a fireworks display that lit up the sky over the capital, folklore presentations and traditional dance performances

RIYADH: It was like a dream came true for orphans at the rehabilitation center run by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and for the patients at hospitals in Riyadh as a private firm turned up to celebrate Eid festivities with them.

Hospitality Board (HB), a Riyadh-based company in the food and consumer staples retailing sector, visited patients at different hospitals and distributed gifts for Eid Al-Fitr.
The team, headed by public relations manager Waddah Omran, visited as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility program.
“A day spent with patients undergoing treatment at the King Khalid Hospital of the King Saud University by the HB members meant a lot to those suffering from different medical ailments, as it relieved the pain for the day to make them smile,” Omran told Arab News on Wednesday.
“It came as part of our corporate social responsibilities; we visited the patients and spent quality time with them, sharing lighter moments and distributing gifts to them,” he said.
“We wish to continue with such visits consistently between Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha,” Omran said.
He said that the patient care included celebrating with them, especially children, and having fun with them, and providing free food, gifts and balloons.
He said that HB executive managers Mutlaq Al-Rasheed, Faisal Al-Saif and CEO Hamdan Al-Badr joined in the visit and were happy to share the moment with the orphans and patients.
Ferial, a hospital staff member from the social department, said: “We appreciate HB’s continuous and generous support to our activities at the hospital.”
Omran said that besides visiting the hospital, HB invited 20 orphans and disabled from the rehabilitation center of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a lunch and have fun with their supervisors and the HB team.
They were also joined by Dr. Mohammed Al-Saadoon, the founder of the “Smile” volunteering team. Al- Saadoon expressed his happiness at joining in. “We at Smile are specialized to support kids with cancer. But I have seen today the happiness of these invitees and I appreciate the HB initiatives.”
CEO Hamdan Al-Badr also expressed his pleasure at being there. “We as a local company, and as a part of society, will keep on supporting with all kinds of social initiatives, and will keep playing these roles that we can be involved with,” he said.

Explosion of color
Week-long festivities to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr mesmerized Riyadh residents with a fireworks display that lit up the sky over the capital, folklore presentations and traditional dance performances.
The fireworks display near the Hanging Bridge in Wadi Leban and at the King Fahd Stadium had Riyadh residents spellbound.
Folklore presentations, comedy programs and traditional dance at Okaz Park in Shifa and in the Qasr Al-Hukum area were also popular.
Qasr Al-Hukum covers downtown Dyrah, the Suwaiqah commercial complex, Al-Muaiqiliyah souq, Al-Safah and Imam Muhammad bin Saud Squares, and the Al-Musmak Palace Museum courtyard.
Praising the celebrations, Rabea Al-Joudi, who visited the Wadi Leban site with his family for the fireworks, told Arab News: “It was a memorable moment. What a colorful sight. It was a wonderful experience celebrating Eid Al-Fitr holidays.
“The explosion of colors with the black sky in the backdrop gripped the imagination,” he said.
“The fireworks are so impressive every year that we bring our children to wherever fireworks displays are organized, hoping that they will remember it as a way of making time for them,” said Wadah Al-Omran.
Mohammed Iqbal, who went to Okaz Park with his family, praised the comedy program and traditional dance, saying: “My family really enjoyed the presentations. So did the others there, with loud clapping after performances.”
Earlier, Tariq bin Abdul Aziz Al-Faris, mayor of Riyadh, visited the program sites and praised the “unprecedented response” from participants as well as the public.