UN supervision of Yemen port demanded

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 21 March 2017
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UN supervision of Yemen port demanded

JEDDAH: A Yemeni rebel missile was intercepted over the Kingdom Monday, the Saudi-led Arab coalition said.
The coalition said the missile, directed at Jazan, caused no casualties. The coalition destroyed the missile launch pad, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The coalition fighting in Yemen called on Sunday for the UN to place a strategic port under its supervision after 42 Somalis were killed in an attack on their refugee boat nearby.
The refugees had departed from the western port city of Al-Hodeidah en route to Sudan when it came under fire in an incident aid workers said had involved a helicopter.
The Red Sea port near the Bab Al-Mandab strait is under the control of Yemen’s armed Houthi movement, which has been fighting the Arab coalition for over two years.
While the alliance denied responsibility for the attack on Friday, it called for jurisdiction over Al-Hodeidah port to be transferred to the UN.
“This would facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies to the Yemeni people, while at the same time ending the use of the port for weapons smuggling and people trafficking,” it said in a statement.
It is still unclear who was behind the assault.
Meanwhile, the UN called for an inquiry into the attack.
“Many questions remain unanswered on the circumstances of this horrific event,” said Filippo Grandi, head of the UN refugee agency, in a statement.
“We call on all parties to the conflict to make proper inquiries to ensure accountability and to prevent this from happening again,” he added.
Iolanda Jaquemet, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: “We do not know who carried it out, but survivors said they came under attack from another boat at 9 p.m.”
The crew used lights and shouted to signal this is a civilian boat. Nevertheless, it did not have any effect and a helicopter joined in the attack, said Jaquemet.


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”