Saudi-led Arab coalition capture coastal area in Yemen from Houthis

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Updated 07 December 2017
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Saudi-led Arab coalition capture coastal area in Yemen from Houthis

DUBAI: The Saudi-led Arab coalition scored its first major gains in Yemen since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday when local fighters captured an area on the Red Sea coast from Houthi militias, residents said on Thursday.
Local fighters loyal to Saleh, who was killed by the Iran-aligned Houthis after switching sides in the civil war, captured Al-Khoukha district about 350 km south-west of the capital Sanaa after heavy fighting over Wednesday night which also involved coalition forces.
Houthi forces control Sanaa and much of the rest of the impoverished country.
Saleh had helped the Houthis win control of Sanaa and much of the north and his decision to abandon them had major implications on the battlefield.
The Houthis crushed a pro-Saleh uprising in the capital and shot him dead in an attack on his convoy on Dec. 4.
The US and UK-backed Saudi-led Arab coalition has stepped up airstrikes on Yemen since then as Houthi forces have tightened their grip on the capital.
Residents said Saleh’s killing spurred opposition to the Houthis and fighters known as the Southern Resistance, together with other local militia and backed by coalition advisers from the UAE, launched attacks on Al-Khoukha on Wednesday.
At least 25 people from both sides were killed in the fighting before Yemeni fighters captured the town of Al-Khoukha and a small fishing port.
When Saleh switched sides he announced he was ready to end a nearly three-year-old war.


Turkish police detain 12 academics, activists in raids

Updated 10 min 32 sec ago
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Turkish police detain 12 academics, activists in raids

  • They are being questioned over their links to the Anatolia Culture Association founded by Osman Kavala
  • Police are searching for eight other people linked to the association

ANKARA: Police in Istanbul detained 12 academics, businesspeople and journalists as part of an investigation into an association that was headed by a jailed prominent businessman and activist, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Friday.
Anadolu Agency said professors Betul Tanbay and Turgut Tarhanli of Istanbul’s Bosphorus and Bilgi universities and journalist Cigdem Mater were among those detained in simultaneous police operations in the city.
They are being questioned over their links to the Anatolia Culture Association founded by Osman Kavala, a philanthropist businessman who was arrested a year ago pending trial, accused of alleged attempts to “abolish” the constitutional order and the government. No indictment has been issued against him.
Anadolu said police were searching for eight other people linked to the association which says it aims to promote peace and minority rights through culture.
Since an attempted coup in 2016, Turkey’s government has been accused of stifling freedom of expression for arresting thousands of people for alleged connections to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the failed attempt, or links to terror groups. It has purged many more people from state institutions and jailed dozens of journalists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Kavala “Turkey’s Soros,” a reference to American billionaire George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations have funded education, health, justice and media projects around the world. Pro-government media in Turkey accuse Kavala of engaging in anti-government conspiracies.
Eleven prominent activists, including Amnesty International’s former Turkey chairman, were arrested last year at their hotel on an island off of Istanbul while training. They were eventually released from jail pending the outcome of their trial for supporting terror groups.
Separately on Friday, police detained 86 people, most of them former Air Force personnel, in operations across Turkey and were looking for 100 others for alleged links to Gulen’s movement, Anadolu reported.
More than 15,000 people have been purged from the military since the coup, Turkey’s defense minister has said.
The cleric denies involvement in the coup.