UAE Armed Forces destroy Houthi command center in Yemen

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UAE Armed Forces have destroyed a Houthi command and communication center in Yemen. (WAM)
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UAE Armed Forces have destroyed a Houthi command and communication center in Hais, Yemen. (WAM)
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UAE Armed Forces have destroyed a Houthi command and communication center in Yemen. (WAM)
Updated 18 January 2018
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UAE Armed Forces destroy Houthi command center in Yemen

HAIS, Yemen: UAE jets have destroyed a Houthi rebel command and communication center in western Yemen.
The aircraft struck the “strategically located” base that was used to store weapons and ammunitions in Hais district of Taiz province, the UAE state new agency WAM reported.
Hais is about 15 miles from the Red Sea coast and 45 miles north of Mocha, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting between the Iran-backed rebels and Yemeni government forces.
The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition supporting the internationally recognized government against the rebels, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.
The destruction of the Houthi center will “severely impact communication among the Houthi militia fighters who are stationed in different parts of the district”, the WAM report said.
The bombing raids provided fire support to the advancing Yemeni government forces in Hais.
Images from the UAE military show the explosions at the targets. It was not clear on which date the airstrikes took place.
The UAE aircraft also conducted a “precise airstrike” against a Houthi vehicle, which was loaded with ammunition and weapons.


Russia: Extremist alliance will not withdraw from Idlib zone

Militants in Syria’s Idlib failed to meet a deadline to leave a planned buffer zone ringing the country’s last rebel bastion. (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Russia: Extremist alliance will not withdraw from Idlib zone

  • Sporadic fighting continued to be recorded in places with a residual terrorist presence, primarily in Idlib: Russia
  • Turkey has designated HTS, which is led by the former Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham (JFS), a terrorist organization

ANKARA: Turkey has failed to persuade the rebel alliance Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) to withdraw from a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib province that was agreed by Ankara and Moscow in September, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
“Sporadic fighting continued to be recorded in places with a residual terrorist presence, primarily in Idlib… Militants continued shelling western Aleppo,” said ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
On Thursday, Turkish and Russian officials met in Ankara ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Istanbul on Nov. 19.
Timur Akhmetov, a researcher at the Russian International Affairs Council, said although there are serious problems with implementation of the Idlib agreement, Russian officials stressed that the process requires time and effort.
“Russia doesn’t want to push Turkey because there’s a much more important thing: Constitutional dialogue between the Syrian opposition and government, where Turkish-Russian dialogue plays a decisive role,” he told Arab News. 
“(Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan publicly undertook obligations to clear the (Idlib) zone from terrorists,” Akhmetov said. 
“Ankara is also having a hard time with the US regarding the Syrian Kurds. I think Russia will find ways to exploit this situation.”
Turkey has designated HTS, which is led by the former Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham (JFS), a terrorist organization.
Under the Turkish-Russian deal, rebel groups, including HTS, were to withdraw from the demilitarized zone by mid-October.
Ankara has repeatedly indicated its readiness to use force against radical groups if they refuse to withdraw.
Turkey has reinforced its military presence in Idlib with armored vehicles and equipment. It has 12 military posts in the province.
Enes Ayasli, a research assistant and Middle East expert at Sakarya University in Turkey, said the most obvious setback of the Idlib deal is that moderate rebel groups in the province now back HTS if there is a clash between it and Syrian regime forces.
“Their focus is now on repelling regime forces even if it means violating the deal,” he told Arab News. 
“Turkey in this sense seems to have failed to separate moderate groups completely from extremists.”
An intensification of fighting between the regime and extremists may cause the deal to collapse completely, Ayasli said.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an increased rate of violations of the Idlib demilitarized zone.