Turkey voices concern over Iran protests, calls for violence to be avoided as death toll continues to grow

People protest in Tehran, Iran Dec. 30, 2017 in in this picture obtained from social media. (Reuters)
Updated 02 January 2018
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Turkey voices concern over Iran protests, calls for violence to be avoided as death toll continues to grow

Istanbul: Turkey on Tuesday said it was “concerned” by days-long protests that have engulfed neighboring Iran, warning against any escalation in the unrest.
“Turkey is concerned by news the protests in Iran... are spreading, causing casualties and also the fact that some public buildings were damaged,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding “common sense should prevail to prevent any escalation.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has tried to play down the unrest, which began over economic grievances in second city Mashhad last Thursday but quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole with chants of “Death to the dictator.”
The five-day unrest, the biggest challenge to the Islamic regime since the 2009 mass demonstrations, has so far claimed 21 lives.
Turkey — which was hit by protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then premier) in 2013 — said it “attaches the utmost importance to the maintenance of peace and stability in friendly and brotherly Iran.”
The ministry said Rouhani’s statements warning against violation of laws and damage of public property should be adhered to.
“We believe that violence and provocations should be avoided,” it said, warning against “external interventions.”
Turkey, whose rivalry with Iran goes back to the regional battle for supremacy between the Ottoman Empire and imperial Persia, has had on occasion tricky moments in relations with Tehran.
Erdogan has repeatedly railed against “Persian imperialism” in the Middle East but relations have warmed in the last months as Moscow and Tehran work tightly with Ankara to bring peace to Syria.
Turkey’s conservative press on their front pages sounded grave unease over the protests, which the pro-government Yeni Safak daily described as a “dangerous escalation.”
It accused the United States of being behind the violence with the aim of the “Syria-ization” of Iran. “The Pentagon has started its 2018 chaos plans from Iran.”
“The dirty game is now in Iran,” added the Star daily on its front page. “The West is behind the sedition in Iran... if it’s successful there, the target will be Turkey,” added the Yeni Akit daily.


With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

Updated 20 June 2018
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With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

  • UAE commander confirms Hodeidah airport in Yemen is liberated
  • Houthis have been accused of breaking international law by targeting civilians

DUBAI: A Saudi-led Arab Coalition commander has confirmed the liberation of Yemen’s Hodeida airport in a video posted by UAE state news agency WAM.

“The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control,” the coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam Al-Shehi said speaking in Arabic in the video posted on Twitter.

 

 

Government forces broke through the airport perimeter fence on Tuesday sparking heavy fighting in which at least 33 militia and 19 soldiers were killed – according to AFP.

The offensive was launched last Wednesday to clear Hodeida of Houthi fighters who have held it since 2014, raising UN concerns for vital aid shipments and food imports through the city’s docks.

The airport is disused but housed a major militia base just inland from the coast road into the city from the south.

It lies eight kilometers from the city’s port, through which three-quarters of Yemen’s imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths held four days of talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa in a bid to avert an all-out battle for the city but flew out on Tuesday without announcing any breakthrough.

Meanwhile Coalition forces have accused the Iran-back Houthis of directly targeting civilians in the Tehama region, north-west of Hodeidah, in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, WAM reported.

Now the Coalition has called on the international community to put pressure on the Houthis to stop their violent and illegal acts against the Yemeni people.

These latest reports came as further evidence was presented by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that Iran is supplying the Houthi militia in Yemen with various forms of artillery, including drones, rockets, small arms and ammunition.

(With AFP)