Yemen president orders his forces to cease fire in Aden

Fighters from Yemen's southern separatist movement gather in a street of Aden on Sunday during clashes with government forces. (AFP)
Updated 28 January 2018
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Yemen president orders his forces to cease fire in Aden

ADEN: Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Sunday ordered his forces to cease fire immediately in interim capital Aden after fierce clashes with southern separatists.
The call came in a communique issued by Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher to the commanders of government forces in the southern port city.
“Based on instructions from President Hadi, supreme commander of the Yemeni armed forces, and after talks with the Arab coalition... you must order all military units to cease fire immediately,” said the communique seen by AFP.
It ordered government forces “to return to base,” and said all positions taken on Sunday should be vacated by all sides unconditionally.
Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher on Sunday accused southern separatists of attempting a coup in the interim capital of Aden after they took over the government headquarters.
The premier called on the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-backed Houthis to intervene, hours after fierce clashes erupted between military units loyal to the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and separatist security forces.
At least 15 people were killed in fierce fighting on Sunday in Yemen’s interim capital of Aden, hospital sources said, as separatists took over the government headquarters.
Three civilians were among those killed, medical sources in four hospitals in Aden said.
“A coup is ongoing here in Aden against legitimacy and the country’s unity,” Dagher said in a statement.
Security sources told AFP that pro-separatist had taken over the government headquarters in Aden after clashes.
The clashes erupted after separatist protesters were prevented from entering Aden where supporters of secessionists were gathering for a rally to demand the ouster of Dagher’s government.
Aden serves as a temporary base for Hadi’s government as Iranian-backed rebels took over the capital Sanaa more than three years ago.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015 to back Hadi’s government in its war against the Houthis. Military and security units from both sides were deployed in the city amid high tension.
Universities, schools and the only international airport in the city had all been closed, according to witnesses.
Dagher said that events in Aden were headed toward “total military confrontation” and urged members of the coalition to take action.
He also warned that separating south Yemen from the rest of the country would benefit Iran and the Houthis.
“Iran is trying to consolidate its presence in Yemen through the Houthis and by splitting Yemen, we are giving them one-third of the land and three-quarters of the population,” Dagher said.
Sunday’s rally was called by the South Transition Council, an autonomous body aimed at overseeing self-governance among southern provinces.
The 26-member council, which is not recognized by Hadi’s government, includes the governors of five southern provinces and two Cabinet ministers.
Former Aden Gov. Aidarous Al-Zoubeidi formed the council in May after Hadi fired him the previous month.
Ahead of the planned protest, the coalition called for calm and restraint from “all Yemeni political and social” parties.
It urged all sides to “adhere to the language of calm dialogue,” to liberate all of Yemen from the control of the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists, according to a statement cited late Saturday by Saudi state news agency SPA. The Yemeni government has welcomed the statement.
Yemen’s government spokesman Rajih Badi said in a statement that the position of the coalition in its support for the legitimate government was what it had stressed from the outset — which was the importance of maintaining the focus of the battle in confronting the Iranian-backed efforts to divide the country from within.
He said there was a need to keep faith in the goals and objectives of the legitimate government, the Arab coalition and UN in achieving and maintaining stability in the country.
The spokesman explained that the adoption of any action against the legitimate government only led to serve the enemies of Yemen, Gulf Arab countries, and the Arab region.


Jordan reopens main border post with Syria after 3 years

Updated 15 October 2018
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Jordan reopens main border post with Syria after 3 years

  • The black metal border gate was opened from the Jordanian side of the crossing at 8:00 am (0500 GMT)
  • The crossing was a major link not only for direct trade between the neighboring countries but also for longer-distance transit

JABER BORDER CROSSING, Jordan: Jordan on Monday reopened its main border crossing with war-torn Syria, a key Middle East trade route, after a three year closure, an AFP photographer reported.
The black metal border gate was opened from the Jordanian side of the crossing at 8:00 am (0500 GMT) as more than a dozen police and customs officials stood nearby, the photographer said.
Several cars bearing Jordanian license plates queued to enter Syria, the photographer added, as travelers expressed their joy at being able to cross the border.
“Today is a celebration for us and I wanted to be among the first to cross the border,” said Syrian businessman Mohammed Hisham as he waited for his turn to enter Syria from Jordan where he now lives.
Jordanian taxi driver Imad Sariheen called the reopening of Jaber a source of “great happiness for all of us” which will help ease “economic hardships” caused by the closure of the crossing.
“Our conditions have worsened over the past years. Our work (driving taxis) was halted because of the closure of the border between Jordan and Syria,” he added.
The border crossing, known as Jaber on the Jordanian side and Nassib on the Syrian side, was a key trade route before Amman closed it after the post was overrun by rebels in April 2015.
The crossing was a major link not only for direct trade between the neighboring countries but also for longer-distance transit, which was a signficant source of revenue.
The reopening comes after Syrian government troops retook their side of the crossing in July under a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Moscow.
After seven years of civil war, Syria’s government has recaptured large swathes of territory from rebels with backing from Russia, but it still only controls around half the 19 crossing points with neighbors Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat announced the intended reopening of the Jaber crossing on Sunday.
She said in a statement that the decision was taken after “Jordanian and Syrian technical teams agreed on the final measures needed to reopen the border during a meeting held at the Jaber crossing.”
Syria’s Interior Minister Mohammed Al-Shaar also confirmed on Sunday the decision to reopen Jaber.
According to an agreement between Jordan and Syria seen by AFP, the traffic of passenger and goods at the border crossing will resume daily from 0500 GMT to 1300 GMT.
Syria also requested that Jordan send an expert to help with border checks at Nassib where there are no X-ray machines, according to the terms of the agreement.
The accord stipulated that travelers entering Jordan from Syria “must obtain prior to their trip a security permit” from Jordanian authorities.
And those who plan to use Jordan as a transit stop en route to a third country must show proof of their residency permit in Syria as well as an entry visa to the country they plan to visit.