Four dead as Yemen troops clash with Al-Qaeda

Yemeni men and security forces inspect the site of a suicide bombing in the southern port city of Aden, in this November 5, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Four dead as Yemen troops clash with Al-Qaeda

ADEN: Two soldiers and two terrorists were killed in clashes Friday as Emirati-backed Yemeni forces seized an Al-Qaeda foothold in the country’s south, security sources said.
Militants fled to nearby mountains after the clashes in Al-Hawtah district of Shabwa province, said a Yemeni officer.
He said Apache helicopters belonging to the UAE — a key member of a Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen — then strafed the mountains where the terrorists had fled.
“We entered Al-Hawtah after clashes with the terrorists and now we’re stationed in several locations... We are in total control of the area,” the officer said.
The UAE has been playing a key role in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, launched in 2015 to roll back Houthi militia gains but which has expanded to counter militant advances.
Al-Qaeda has flourished in the chaos of Yemen’s civil war and in August, Emirati-trained Yemeni special forces launched a US-backed operation against the group, also the target of a long-running US drone campaign.
Yemeni forces have brought Shabwa province largely under government control, though Al-Qaeda is known to make tactical retreats to mountain refuges, only to resurface.
Houthi militias still occupy one district of Shabwa as well as the neighboring province of Baida, the capital Sanaa and most of northern Yemen.


30,000 Syrians eligible to vote in Turkish elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces stiff opposition for presidential and legislative polls on June 24. AFP
Updated 20 June 2018
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30,000 Syrians eligible to vote in Turkish elections

  • Polls suggest Erdogan’s alliance could narrowly lose its parliamentary majority
  • If the party passes a 10 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament, it could win dozens of seats in Parliament

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is quoted as saying that 30,000 Syrians who acquired Turkish nationality are eligible to vote in Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Hurriyet newspaper and other media said Yildirim made the comments Tuesday in the city of Izmir.
Turkey, which is hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees, announced in 2016 that it would begin granting citizenship to Syrians.

Another election?
In another development, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) party leader said Turkey could stage another election if the alliance between President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and the MHP could not form a majority in Parliament after Sunday’s vote.
Polls suggest Erdogan’s alliance could narrowly lose its parliamentary majority, while the presidential vote may also go to a second round run-off.
MHP chairman Devlet Bahceli who backed Erdogan in the referendum, said another set of early elections could be on the agenda if the presidency and Parliament struggle to work together after Sunday’s vote.
Speaking in an interview on private news channel NTV late on Monday, Bahceli said that the referendum granted either the president or Parliament the authority to call for snap elections when there was a “blockage” — for example if Erdogan won the presidency but his party fell short of a parliamentary majority.
“When the presidency and Parliament come to the point where they can’t work in unison, there are ways out of this under the constitutional changes and they are carried out. For example, an ... early election could be considered,” he said.
Bahceli played a pivotal role in moving Sunday’s elections forward more than a year when he called on the government to declare snap elections in April. Erdogan set the election date for the June 24 votes after a meeting with Bahceli.
Under the constitutional changes, which will go into effect following the elections, the number of lawmakers in Parliament will increase to 600 from 550. Officials from the AK Party, which has enjoyed a parliamentary majority until now, have said they aim to receive at least 300 seats in the assembly.
Throughout his election campaign, Erdogan has stressed the importance of a “strong Parliament,” saying the decision to support him for the presidency but not the AK Party was a “disturbing attempt.”
The composition of the assembly could depend on Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition, which has significant backing in the country’s largely Kurdish southeast.
If the party passes a 10 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament, it could win dozens of seats in Parliament. If it fails, the seats will go to the second most popular party in the region, almost certainly guaranteeing a majority for the AKP.
Meanwhile, voting at Turkish diplomatic missions abroad for expatriate Turks ends Tuesday, with orange sealed bags carrying votes already arriving in Turkey. Voting at border gates and airports will continue until all polls close Sunday afternoon.
The country’s official Anadolu news agency said 41 percent of the more than 3 million registered expatriate voters have cast their ballots so far.