Syrian forces reach opposition-held air base in Idlib province

Pro-government forces can be seen in this file photo from 2014. Pro-government forces reached the Idlib-based base earlier this month but pulled back 10 days ago to fight off a counter-offensive. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 20 January 2018
0

Syrian forces reach opposition-held air base in Idlib province

ANKARA, Turkey: Syrian state TV says government forces have reached the perimeter of a rebel-held air base deep inside what was once opposition territory in northwest Syria.
The station said on Saturday the government is attacking Abu Dhuhour base in Idlib province.
Pro-government forces reached the base earlier this month but pulled back 10 days ago to fight off a counter-offensive by rebels and Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says pro-government forces have surrounded Abu Dhuhour base from three sides.
Rebels took over the base in 2015 but have not been able to use it as an airfield because they do not have an air force.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s military says it has retaliated against fire into Turkey from across the border in a Kurdish-controlled enclave in northwest Syria.
A brief military statement said Saturday the military responded to two days of “harassment” by attacking refuges and shelters in the enclave of Afrin allegedly belonging to a Syrian Kurdish militia group that Turkey considers to be a “terror” organization. The military did not provide details.
Turkey has vowed to launch a ground operation into Afrin to eradicate the threat from the group it says is an extension of Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey. It has been massing troops and tanks at its border.
Turkey’s defense minister said Thursday the offensive into Afrin had “de facto” started, in reference to sporadic Turkish military shelling of the area.


Houthi militia in Yemen 'storm' World Food Program warehouse

Updated 6 min 9 sec ago
0

Houthi militia in Yemen 'storm' World Food Program warehouse

  • WFP warehouse in Hodeidah turned into a "military barracks"
  • Minister says thousands of families caught in crossfire

CAIRO: A Yemeni minister has accused Houthi militants of storming a warehouse used by the World Food Program to store humanitarian aid in Hodeidah.

Abdel-Raqeeb Fateh, the minister of local administration, said on Friday that the Houthis have turned the WFP warehouse in Al-Durayhimi district into a military barracks, AP reported.

Hodeida, Yemen’s largest port, has become the center of the fighting between pro-government forces and the Iran-backed Houthis, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.

Fateh added that thousands of families were caught in the district's crossfire between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition forces fighting them.

Fateh said the Houthis are intimidating humanitarian workers and called for a condemnation from the UN.

The Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, is supporting the government troops in the battle to recapture Hodeidah and restore the government.

The Saudi-led coalition accused the Houthis of carrying out a mortar attack on a hospital and fish market in Yemen earlier this month that killed at least 55 people. 

The UN on Friday said it had invited the Yemeni government and the Houthis to peace talks in Geneva on September 6.

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said earlier this month he would convene the talks to try and bring an end to the three-year conflict has killed more than 10,000 people.