Yemeni media organization: 2,250 violations against journalists since Houthi coup

Followers of the Shi'ite Houthi movement perform the traditional Baraa dance in Sanaa, Yemen, on September 9, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 12 January 2018

Yemeni media organization: 2,250 violations against journalists since Houthi coup

JEDDAH: A report issued on Friday by the National Organization of Yemeni Media “Sada” revealed that 2,250 cases of violation against journalists and media workers, and their institutions, were recorded since the Houthi militia coup against the legitimate government in Yemen until the end of December 2017.

In its report titled “Price of Abandonment,” the organization — according to the official Saba news agency — held the Iranian-backed Houthi militia accountable for 85 percent of documented violations against journalists in 21 Yemeni governorates.

It said the capital Sanaa, under militias control, topped the list of documented violations with 88 percent.

According to the report, 20 types of violations committed by the Houthi militia against media workers were recorded.

These violations included “abduction, enforced disappearance, murder, physical assault, targeting of houses, occupation of media institutions, and security prosecution.”

Over the past three years, the Houthi militia has been reported to have killed 22 journalists through sniping, using them as human shields, and 141 journalists have been kidnapped, the report said.

The report also showed that “Houthi-controlled Sanaa ranked first in documented violations with 1,972 cases, while Taiz governorate came second with 81 cases.”

In the period between 2015 and the end of 2017, according to the report, in Marib governorate, 219 journalists and media staff accounted for 40 percent of 544 journalists displaced by Houthi militia.

The report called on the legitimate government to pressure the United Nations and international organizations to do more to release and stop the torture of the journalists abducted by the Houthi militia.

Syrian fighters to support anti-Kurdish forces in northeast

A military vehicle is transported as part of a convoy on the outskirts of the city of Kilis, southeastern Turkey, close to the border with Syria, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (AP)
Updated 15 December 2018

Syrian fighters to support anti-Kurdish forces in northeast

  • Turkey has already swept YPG fighters from Afrin and other areas west of the Euphrates in military campaigns over the past two years

ISTANBUL: Up to 15,000 Syrian fighters are ready to join a Turkish military offensive against US-backed Kurdish forces in northeast Syria, but no date has been set for the operation, a spokesman for the main Turkish-backed Syrian opposition group said on Thursday.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey would launch the offensive in a few days, targeting a border region east of the Euphrates River which is held by the YPG Kurdish militia.
The announcement prompted a sharp rebuke from the Pentagon, which said any unilateral military action into northeast Syria would be unacceptable.
The US has been supporting the YPG in the fight against Daesh insurgents since 2015. Following cross-border shelling from Turkey into Kurdish-controlled territory two months ago, US forces have set up three military observation posts near the border.
Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the state in southeastern Turkey for more than three decades.
On Thursday the Turkish military said one of its soldiers stationed in Syria’s Afrin region was killed by fire from YPG fighters, who were in the Tel Rifaat area. Both areas are west of the Euphrates in northern Syria.
Turkish forces returned fire, the military said. Turkey has already swept YPG fighters from Afrin and other areas west of the Euphrates in military campaigns over the past two years, but has not gone east of the river — partly to avoid direct confrontation with US forces.
But Erdogan’s patience with Washington over Syria — specifically a deal to clear the YPG from the town of Manbij, just west of the Euphrates — seems to have worn thin.
The spokesman for the National Army, a Turkish-backed opposition force aimed at unifying disparate factions in northwest Syria, said on Thursday that there was no set date for the operation, which would start from both Syrian and Turkish territory.
“The battle will be launched simultaneously from several fronts,” Maj. Youssef Hamoud told Reuters.
“It will be in Manbij and Tel Abyad and Ras Al-Ayn,” he said, referring to towns about 200 km apart near Syria’s northern border.
Hamoud said the operation from Turkey might begin a few days before the move from within Syria.
In a speech on Wednesday, Erdogan said that Turkey’s target “is never US soldiers.”
Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement that unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party would be of grave concern, “particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity.”
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford spoke with the chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler on Thursday.
“Dunford emphasized that the observation posts will continue to focus on and deter threats from Syria toward the Turkish southern border,” a US military statement said.
“In addition, he reiterated that the US remains committed to coordinating efforts with Turkey to bring stability to northeastern Syria,” it added.