President Erdogan claims Turkish shelling push back pro-government militia from Afrin

Photo showing Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters fire from the town of Salwah, less than 10 kilometres from the Syria-Turkey border, towards Kurdish forces from the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region, on Feb 19, 2018
Updated 20 February 2018
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President Erdogan claims Turkish shelling push back pro-government militia from Afrin

BEIRUT: Turkish president Erdogan said that pro-Syrian forces left Afrin. He said that “some pro-Syrian government forces tried to enter Afrin but were pushed back due to Turkish artillery fire” 
Syrian state television earlier showed a convoy of pro-government fighters allegedly entering the Kurdish-held Afrin region on Tuesday to help fend off a Turkish assault.
The fighters wearing camouflage fatigues waved weapons and Syrian flags from their vehicles as they crossed through a checkpoint that bore the insignia of a Kurdish security force.
“One Syria, one Syria!” some of them chanted.
“We have come to tell our people in Afrin that we are one,” said a fighter interviewed on state television, referring to the government stance that Syria must remain one country and internal partitions caused by the war must be eradicated.
State news agency SANA accused Turkish forces of shelling territory near the crossing where the “popular forces” entered Afrin.
Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Russia had stepped in to block a deployment of pro-government forces in Afrin, where Ankara is seeking to destroy the Kurdish YPG militia.
On Sunday, a Kurdish political official said Damascus had agreed to send Syrian troops into Afrin to help fend off the month-old offensive by Turkey and allied Syrian insurgents.
The Syrian government and the YPG have mostly avoided direct conflict during the war, but they espouse very different visions for Syria’s future. Each controls more ground than any other side in the conflict.


With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

Updated 20 June 2018
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With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

  • UAE commander confirms Hodeidah airport in Yemen is liberated
  • Houthis have been accused of breaking international law by targeting civilians

DUBAI: A Saudi-led Arab Coalition commander has confirmed the liberation of Yemen’s Hodeida airport in a video posted by UAE state news agency WAM.

“The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control,” the coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam Al-Shehi said speaking in Arabic in the video posted on Twitter.

 

 

Government forces broke through the airport perimeter fence on Tuesday sparking heavy fighting in which at least 33 militia and 19 soldiers were killed – according to AFP.

The offensive was launched last Wednesday to clear Hodeida of Houthi fighters who have held it since 2014, raising UN concerns for vital aid shipments and food imports through the city’s docks.

The airport is disused but housed a major militia base just inland from the coast road into the city from the south.

It lies eight kilometers from the city’s port, through which three-quarters of Yemen’s imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths held four days of talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa in a bid to avert an all-out battle for the city but flew out on Tuesday without announcing any breakthrough.

Meanwhile Coalition forces have accused the Iran-back Houthis of directly targeting civilians in the Tehama region, north-west of Hodeidah, in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, WAM reported.

Now the Coalition has called on the international community to put pressure on the Houthis to stop their violent and illegal acts against the Yemeni people.

These latest reports came as further evidence was presented by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that Iran is supplying the Houthi militia in Yemen with various forms of artillery, including drones, rockets, small arms and ammunition.

(With AFP)