Arab coalition calls for restraint as tank battle rocks Aden

The Arab coalition has called for talks as fighting escalated in Aden on Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 29 January 2018
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Arab coalition calls for restraint as tank battle rocks Aden

RIYADH/ADEN: President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on Monday that a “coup” was underway in Aden, where separatists were battling his forces for a second day.
Military sources told AFP that at least nine people were killed in heavy fighting on Monday as a tank battle broke out in Aden.
The Arab coalition, which supports the government of Hadi, called for dialogue and for it to hear the demands of the separatists in the southern port city.
“We are calling on the legitimate government to look into the demands of the political and social movement,” said coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.
He urged “restraint” from the separatists and for them to “hold talks with the legitimate government.”
Al-Maliki said the coalition’s priority was to deliver humanitarian aid and said 12 aid flights had been sent to Aden within a week to relieve the people’s suffering.
In addition, Al-Maliki said more than 19 ships were at Yemeni ports carrying humanitarian aid for the Yemeni people.
“The Yemeni people have a right to humanitarian aid and this right should not be disrupted,” Al-Maliki said.
Hadi, meanwhile, renewed his call for a cease-fire, saying “rebellion and weapons won’t achieve peace or build a state.”
“The real and the main battle is with Iranian Houthi militias and any other side problems will impact the main battle,” he said, according to Reuters. “Any assault on legitimacy is a coup.”
UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged all parties to return to “calm and dialogue.”
As the fighting escalated in Aden, military sources told AFP that civilians were hunkered down at homes as five separatist fighters were killed by snipers and four soldiers died in clashes with tanks and heavy artillery entering the fray.
Fighters from both sides have been deployed in most areas of Aden, paralyzed for a second day after 15 people were killed and dozens wounded on Sunday.
Universities, schools and shops stayed closed, an AFP photographer said.


Lebanon to form body to probe civil war disappearances

Updated 24 min 45 sec ago
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Lebanon to form body to probe civil war disappearances

  • The long-awaited law would empower an independent national commission to gather information about the missing
  • Families and rights groups have been campaigning for the law since 2012, when it first went to parliament

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament on Monday approved the formation of an independent commission to help determine the fate of thousands of people who went missing during the country’s civil war, which ended nearly three decades ago.
The long-awaited law would empower an independent national commission to gather information about the missing, collect DNA samples and exhume mass graves from the 1975-1990 conflict.
Families and rights groups have been campaigning for the law since 2012, when it first went to parliament.
“This is the first step toward giving closure to families of the missing hopefully,” said Rona Halabi, spokeswoman for the International Committee for the Red Cross. “This represents a milestone for the families who have waited for years to have answers.”
The Hague-based International Commission on Missing Persons says more than 17,000 people are estimated to have gone missing during the Lebanese civil war.
Lebanon’s National News Agency said lawmakers approved the law after voting on each of its 38 articles.
LBC TV said lawmakers initially protested, saying calls for accountability may affect current officials. The broadcaster said they were reassured the 1991 amnesty for abuses committed by militias during the war remains in place.
Many of Lebanon’s political parties are led by former warlords implicated in some of the civil war’s worst fighting.
“For the first time after the war, Lebanon enters a genuine reconciliation phase, to heal the wounds and give families the right to know,” Gebran Bassil, the country’s foreign minister tweeted.
The ICRC began compiling DNA samples from relatives of the disappeared in 2016 and has interviewed more than 2,000 families to help a future national commission.
DNA samples have been stored with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces and the ICRC. The law would allow Lebanese security forces to take part in the sample collection.