Lebanese Red Cross worker killed in south Yemen shooting

A picture taken on April 21, 2018, shows a Yemeni man looking at a Red Cross vehicle that was carrying Red Cross employee Hanna Lahoud. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2018
0

Lebanese Red Cross worker killed in south Yemen shooting

  • The aid worker died in hospital of his wounds, while colleagues in the same car were unharmed.
  • Most of Taiz is controlled by forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, while the Houthi militia still hold many parts of the surrounding area.

Sanaa: A Lebanese Red Cross employee was gunned down in his car in war-torn Yemen's southern city of Taez on Saturday, the ICRC announced.
"I'm shocked, outraged and profoundly saddened by the killing of my colleague and friend Hanna Lahoud," tweeted Robert Mardini, Middle East director for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"We @ICRC condemn this senseless act in the strongest possible terms," he wrote. "My thoughts go out to Hanna's wife and family in #Lebanon."
The ICRC said Lahoud, who was charge of prisoners' affairs in Yemen, was on his way to visit a prison when his car came under attack by unknown gunmen.
He died in hospital of his wounds, while colleagues in the same car were unharmed, it said in a statement.
The aid worker was killed by multiple gunshots to the heart, according to a hospital source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The back window of the car was completely shattered in the attack in the Zabab district of Taez, said an AFP photographer at the scene.
Most of Taez is controlled by forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, while Houthi rebels hold many parts of the surrounding area.
A colleague of Lahoud's mourned his death on Twitter:

"He saved hundreds of lives as a volunteer for the Lebanese Red Cross. He made silly jokes. He had a wonderful voice... He also beat cancer 2 years ago. Today an idiot took his life," tweeted ICRC regional spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali.
The United Nations says the conflict in Yemen has triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with over 22 million people dependent on aid and 8.4 million on the verge of famine.


US accepts Assad staying in Syria — but will not give aid

Updated 18 December 2018
0

US accepts Assad staying in Syria — but will not give aid

  • James Jeffrey said that Assad needed to compromise as he had not yet won the brutal seven-year civil war
  • Trump’s administration has acknowledged, if rarely so explicitly, that Assad is likely to stay

WASHINGTON: The US said Monday it was no longer seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad but renewed warnings it would not fund reconstruction unless the regime is “fundamentally different.”

James Jeffrey, the US special representative in Syria, said that Assad needed to compromise as he had not yet won the brutal seven-year civil war, estimating that some 100,000 armed opposition fighters remained in Syria.

“We want to see a regime that is fundamentally different. It’s not regime change —  we’re not trying to get rid of Assad,” Jeffrey said at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Estimating that Syria would need $300-400 billion to rebuild, Jeffrey warned that Western powers and international financial institutions would not commit funds without a change of course.

“There is a strong readiness on the part of Western nations not to ante up money for that disaster unless we have some kind of idea that the government is ready to compromise and thus not create yet another horror in the years ahead,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama had called for Assad to go, although he doubted the wisdom of a robust US intervention in the complex Syrian war. and kept a narrow military goal of defeating the Daesh extremist group.

President Donald Trump’s administration has acknowledged, if rarely so explicitly, that Assad is likely to stay.

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in October that the US would not provide “one single dollar” for Syria’s reconstruction if Iran stays.

Jeffrey also called for the ouster of Iranian forces, whose presence is strongly opposed by neighboring Israel, although he said the US accepted that Tehran would maintain some diplomatic role in the country.

Jeffrey also said that the US wanted a Syria that does not wage chemical weapons attacks or torture its own citizens.

He acknowledged, however, that the US may not find an ally anytime soon in Syria, saying: “It doesn’t have to be a regime that we Americans would embrace as, say, qualifying to join the European Union if the European Union would take Middle Eastern countries.”