Coalition’s priority is to protect Yemen civilians

A member of the Saudi security force stands guard in front of the logo of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition during a meeting for the coalition's chiefs of staff in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this March 27, 2016 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 February 2017
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Coalition’s priority is to protect Yemen civilians

ADEN: The Saudi Arabia-led Arab coalition supporting the legitimacy in Yemen has made the protection of civilians its top priority and is taking all measures to minimize losses.
The coalition leadership, which reaffirms its commitment to international human rights and humanitarian law, has taken steps to protect civilians, members of medical units and humanitarian organizations as well as journalists.
The coalition works extensively with UN organizations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to support humanitarian efforts based on respect for international human rights.
An independent team formed by the coalition, consisting of top officials, military advisers and military, international and humanitarian law authorities, is working to assess incidents and accidents and investigation procedures.
The team is working to develop these processes and it provides reports about each incident that include studies, lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations for future action.
The coalition forces that participated in the Operation Decisive Storm and are now participating in the Operation Restoration of Hope have an interest in restoring legitimacy to Yemen and shows a great concern for the lives of civilians, their homes and for the provision of their basic needs such as water, food, schooling, hospitals and others.
The coalition is also determined to protect existing infrastructure in Yemeni cities and towns that are in the crossfire of Houthi rebels.
Despite the fact that the Geneva Convention and the additional protocol warn against the use of civilians as human shields, Houthis and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces are still concentrated in residential areas.
Abdulrahman Berman, a lawyer with the Yemeni National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, said that Houthi rebels in Yemen are seeking revenge by using people as human shields.
As such, these rebels are legally and ethically accountable to the Yemeni people and the international community, he said.
The coalition has on several occasions, especially in conflict areas such as Saadah, evacuated civilians as soon as possible before launching airstrikes on hiding places of Houthis and other rebels.
A confidential report by UN experts monitoring the sanctions imposed on Yemen has also accused Houthis of using civilians as human shields.
The report revealed that Houthis deliberately hid fighters and weapons near civilians in Al-Mokha and Taiz in order to avoid being attacked, which is in violation of international humanitarian law.
Earlier, Mansour bin Ahmed Al-Mansour, media spokesman of the joint team for evaluating incidents in Yemen, rejected accusations that the Arab coalition targets civilians in Yemen as “inaccurate” and stressed that Houthis use civilian facilities for military purposes.


The ‘hanging villages’ atop Assiri mountains bare marks of early civilization

Updated 31 min 4 sec ago
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The ‘hanging villages’ atop Assiri mountains bare marks of early civilization

  • The region opens a new window for visitors seeking tourism in this area, given its attractive nature, between high mountain lands, covered in Juniper trees

JEDDAH: In the northern region of Assir, 180km away from its capital Abha, the dark mountains overlooking the Wadi Khat did not pose a challenge for ancient human civilization that had settled, during a period in time, on its highest tops.
These civilizations created villages on the top of mountains that were full of life.
The Saudi Press Agency, during a tour of the region, has reached these villages after it launched a trip from Abha toward the touristic coastal route linking the city and Taif, crossing to the destination via “Tela” between the highlands of Sarra and Tihama.
The region opens a new window for visitors seeking tourism in this area, given its attractive nature, between high mountain lands, covered in Juniper trees, steep slopes and various agricultural terraces.
Amid the crossing, foggy weather, and nearly touching the clouds atop these mountains, the distance shrinks between the turns and slopes, to reveal the corners of this historic location, creating a clear panoramic picture of the region’s landscapes.
The details also include the efforts of the Saudi leadership in constructing roads and tunnels, building bridges and paving roads to serve the residents of the area.
A group of residents joined SPA on its trip to the so-called “hanging villages”, riding a 4x4 vehicle to be able to truly appreciate the destination; a village called Al-Sumaid.
An old resident of the village said he is looking forward to road and pavement construction in the area, in order to reach the old village, as well as maintenance efforts from rain and torrential rains, in line with the Saudi leadership’s vision to develop tourism.
Resident Abdul Rahman Al-Sumadi also spoke to SPA about the ancient village, which includes many old houses, palaces and castles that standstill on top of the mountains. The buildings embrace many archaeological artifacts and rock inscriptions that confirm its ancient history.
The agricultural terraces surrounding the village were a source of living for inhabitants of the region at the time, as well as raising goats and cows.