Assassination of Aden University dean sparks outcry in Yemen

An image of Dr. Naja Ali Moqbel, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences shared by Yemeni activists on Twitter.
Updated 17 May 2018
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Assassination of Aden University dean sparks outcry in Yemen

  • The nation was shocked by the assassination of Dr. Naja Ali Moqbel, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and her son Sameh and granddaughter, after a gunman stormed her home
  • The university president had convened an emergency meeting in the wake of the killings, appointing a task force mandated to press for a timely and transparent investigation of the case

ADEN: The University of Aden has condemned the murder of its dean of sciences and her son and granddaughter, who were killed in her apartment in the de facto government capital of Yemen.
“The academic community, the city of Aden, and all of Yemen were shocked by the assassination of Dr. Naja Ali Moqbel, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and her son Sameh and granddaughter, after a gunman stormed her home,” a statement said Wednesday.
Neighbours of Dr. Moqbel in the western Inma residential district managed to catch the gunman and the security services arrived soon after, according to the statement.
It said the university president had convened an emergency meeting in the wake of the killings, appointing a task force mandated to press for a timely and transparent investigation of the case.
Yemen’s prime minister, Ahmad bin Dagher, condemned the “despicable” killings of Dr. Moqbel, her son Sameh and granddaughter Lian, in a statement carried by the state-run Saba news agency.
He said President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had issued directives for security agencies to merge under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry to facilitate information sharing.
Abdelaziz bin Habtour, the prime minister of the so-called Houthi government and the former governor of Aden, also condemned the assassination.
“The academic community has lost a distinguished colleague, one of the best members of the Faculty of Science at the University of Aden,” he said, highlighting her scholarly contributions and books in a statement carried by the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency.

Several others took to social media condemning the killings and paying tribute to the family. 




The southern port city has also seen a string of assassinations against religious figures in recent weeks.
Aden has served as the base of Yemen’s internationally recognized government since Iran-backed Houthi militia overran the capital Sanaa in 2014.
And in January, southern separatists backed by the UAE attacked government loyalist forces in Aden, overrunning the city. The government was forced to hunker down until Saudi and Emirati envoys arrived to quell the infighting.


Macron and Merkel warn of ‘humanitarian risks’ in Idlib

Russian military support has helped Syrian regime troops to regain control of key cities such as Aleppo. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Macron and Merkel warn of ‘humanitarian risks’ in Idlib

  • US-backed forces had repelled a raid by Daesh targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria
  • Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in territory it controlled

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern Friday about the humanitarian situation in the opposition-held Syrian region of Idlib, which is shaping up be the country’s next big battleground.
In a telephone call the two leaders described the “humanitarian risks” in Idlib, where regime forces have stepped up their bombardments of opposition positions in recent days, as “very high,” according to the French presidency.
They also called for an “inclusive political process to allow lasting peace in the region.”
President Bashar Assad has set his sights on retaking control of the northwestern province of Idlib — the biggest area still in opposition hands after seven years of war.
Last week, regime helicopters dropped leaflets over towns in Idlib’s east, urging people to surrender.
Idlib, which sits between Syria’s Mediterranean coast and the second city Aleppo, has been a landing point for thousands of civilians and rebel fighters and their families as part of deals struck with the regime following successive regime victories.
The UN has called for talks to avert “a civilian bloodbath” in the northern province, which borders Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said US-backed forces had repelled a raid by Daesh targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition supporting them were on high alert after the raid late on Friday at the Omar oil field in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Britain-based war monitor said.
“The attack targeted the oil field’s housing, where US-led coalition forces and leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces are present,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Seven terrorists were killed in the attack, which ended at dawn after clashes near the barracks, he added.
Contacted by AFP, neither the US-led coalition nor the Kurdish-led SDF were immediately available for comment.
In October last year, the SDF took control of the Omar oil field, one of the largest in Syria, which according to The Syria Report economic weekly had a pre-war output of 30,000 barrels per day. “It’s the largest attack of its kind since the oil field was turned into a coalition base” following its capture by the SDF, Abdel Rahman said.
Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in territory it controlled.
But the terrorist group has since lost nearly all of it to multiple offensives in both countries.
In Syria, two separate campaigns — by the US-backed SDF and by the Russia-supported regime — have reduced Daesh’s presence to pockets in Deir Ezzor and in the vast desert that lies between it and the capital.