Syrian President Assad visits army positions in Eastern Ghouta — state media

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Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday visited army positions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. (Photo: Courtesy of Syrian Presidency Telegram account)
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Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday visited army positions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. (Photo: Courtesy of Syrian Presidency Telegram account)
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Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday visited army positions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. (Photo: Courtesy of Syrian Presidency Telegram account)
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Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday visited army positions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. (Photo: Courtesy of Syrian Presidency Telegram account)
Updated 18 March 2018
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Syrian President Assad visits army positions in Eastern Ghouta — state media

BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday visited army positions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, the president’s Telegram account said.
“In the line of fire in Eastern Ghouta ... President Assad with heroes of the Syrian Arab army,” a caption said.
It is the Syrian leader's first trip to the former rebel enclave outside Damascus in years.
Syria state television broadcast photos of the president dressed in a shirt and jacket surrounded by soldiers, some perched on a tank behind him, in an unspecified part of Eastern Ghouta.
The photographs were taken in a street lined with damaged building fronts with a couple of parked tanks.
Rebels have held out in Eastern Ghouta since 2012, but a regime assault in the last month has retaken more than 80 percent of the former opposition bastion, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor says.


Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

Updated 19 January 2019
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Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

  • The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah
  • Houthis were blamed for an attack on a UN convey on Thursday

 NEW YORK: UN experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen are recommending that the Security Council urge the Houthis to respect the neutrality and independence of humanitarian workers.

The Associated Press has obtained the nine recommendations the panel of experts made in their latest report to the council.

The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah, key to the delivery of 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, and arrange a withdrawal of rival forces from the area agreed to by the government and the Houthis on Dec. 13.

While the agreement in Stockholm was limited, if fully implemented it could offer a potential breakthrough in Yemen’s four-year civil war.

The experts asked the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Yemen to engage with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office, Yemen’s government and donors to “enhance” the UN mission inspecting vessels heading to ports in Yemen for illegal arms so it can “identify networks using false documentation to evade inspection.”

They also suggested that Guterres organize a conference with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as other “key actors to best manage cash flows and imports of goods,” using the principles of the UN Global Compact on how companies should conduct business.

And the experts recommended that the secretary-general ask the UN inspection mission and monitors at the port of Hodeidah “to share information on potential cases of acts that threaten the peace, stability and security of Yemen,” including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the UN arms embargo, and obstructions of humanitarian assistance.

The experts also asked the sanctions committee to consider sending three letters. One would be to Abu Al-Abbas, a militia commander in the flashpoint city of Taiz, asking him to transfer artifacts and items from the Taiz National Museum in his custody to Yemen’s government. 

A second would be to alert the International Maritime Organization to “the risks posed by anti-ship cruise missiles and water-borne improvised explosive devices in the Red Sea and to encourage it to discuss these threats with the commercial shipping industry with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”

The third would be to alert the International Civil Aviation Organization of the risks posed by drones and munitions to civil aviation, particularly near busy international airports on the Arabian Peninsula “and encourage it to discuss these threats with airport operators and airlines with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”