Free Syrian Army threatens to shell Hezbollah

Updated 21 February 2013
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Free Syrian Army threatens to shell Hezbollah

BEIRUT: Free Syrian Army threatened yesterday to shell positions of the Hezbollah militant group in neighboring Lebanon after accusing it of firing across the border into territory it controls.
“What is new in the past week is that Hezbollah has been shelling into villages around Qusayr from Lebanese territory, and that we cannot accept,” General Selim Idriss, the FSA’s chief of staff, told AFP, adding that the fighters have given Hezbollah a 48-hour deadline to stop the shelling.
Meanwhile, Syrian fighters downed a warplane over the Damascus provincial town of Hammuriyeh yesterday, shortly after an air strike killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens more there, a watchdog and activists said.
Amateur video shot by activists and distributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights showed a warplane firing from the sky and then going down in flames after apparently being hit.
Lacking sophisticated weaponry, militants fighting the regime of Bashar Assad have frequently used heavy machineguns to shoot down warplanes deployed to strike insurgent enclaves across the country.
“The shelling and bombardment in Eastern Ghuta province yesterday was fierce,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Elsewhere, troops fought fighters around several air bases and the international airport in the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory said. In the past week, fighters have captured air bases at Al-Jarrah, Hassel and Base 80, as well as an important checkpoint near the international airport.
Yesterday’s violence came a day after some 100 people were killed across Syria, according to the Observatory. The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria’s nearly two-year war, most of them civilians.
Meanwhile, two mortars exploded next to a soccer stadium in central Damascus yesterday, killing one player and injuring several, Syria’s state-run news agency said.
The mortar attack was the second in as many days in the capital. On Tuesday, two mortars exploded near one of Assad’s palaces, causing material damage only.
But it was the first confirmed strike close to a presidential palace and another sign that the civil war is moving closer to the heart of Assad’s seat of power and into areas of the capital once considered safe.


Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

Updated 19 January 2019
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Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

  • The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah
  • Houthis were blamed for an attack on a UN convey on Thursday

 NEW YORK: UN experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen are recommending that the Security Council urge the Houthis to respect the neutrality and independence of humanitarian workers.

The Associated Press has obtained the nine recommendations the panel of experts made in their latest report to the council.

The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah, key to the delivery of 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, and arrange a withdrawal of rival forces from the area agreed to by the government and the Houthis on Dec. 13.

While the agreement in Stockholm was limited, if fully implemented it could offer a potential breakthrough in Yemen’s four-year civil war.

The experts asked the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Yemen to engage with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office, Yemen’s government and donors to “enhance” the UN mission inspecting vessels heading to ports in Yemen for illegal arms so it can “identify networks using false documentation to evade inspection.”

They also suggested that Guterres organize a conference with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as other “key actors to best manage cash flows and imports of goods,” using the principles of the UN Global Compact on how companies should conduct business.

And the experts recommended that the secretary-general ask the UN inspection mission and monitors at the port of Hodeidah “to share information on potential cases of acts that threaten the peace, stability and security of Yemen,” including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the UN arms embargo, and obstructions of humanitarian assistance.

The experts also asked the sanctions committee to consider sending three letters. One would be to Abu Al-Abbas, a militia commander in the flashpoint city of Taiz, asking him to transfer artifacts and items from the Taiz National Museum in his custody to Yemen’s government. 

A second would be to alert the International Maritime Organization to “the risks posed by anti-ship cruise missiles and water-borne improvised explosive devices in the Red Sea and to encourage it to discuss these threats with the commercial shipping industry with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”

The third would be to alert the International Civil Aviation Organization of the risks posed by drones and munitions to civil aviation, particularly near busy international airports on the Arabian Peninsula “and encourage it to discuss these threats with airport operators and airlines with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”