Assault on Idlib risks ‘scattering terrorists’ abroad: Paris

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian delivers a speech at the annual French ambassadors' conference in Paris, France, August 29, 2018. (Reuters/File)
Updated 11 September 2018
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Assault on Idlib risks ‘scattering terrorists’ abroad: Paris

  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Tuesday that a Syrian government offensive on the last rebel stronghold of Idlib could scatter thousands of terrorists

PARIS: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Tuesday that a Syrian government offensive on the last rebel stronghold of Idlib could scatter thousands of foreign terrorists abroad, posing a security threat to the West.
“There are in all likelihood dozens of French fighters from both Al-Qaeda and Daesh” in Idlib, Le Drian told France’s BFMTV, warning that there were “also many terrorists from other nations who could scatter” in the event of a joint Syrian-Russian offensive, posing “risks for our security.
Le Drian said there was “still time to guard against this scenario” and expressed support for Turkey “in its efforts to keep the population safe, particularly the civilian population.”
France, the European country worst hit by a wave of attacks since 2015, has been on high alert for radicals returning home from areas in Iraq and Syria that have been recaptured from Daesh.
Le Drian estimated at “between 10,000 and 15,000” the number of terrorists left in Idlib.
“The attack being prepared by the Syrian regime with Russia’s backing is extremely dangerous,” he said.


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets on Sunday carried out a series of strikes targeting Houthi positions west of Marib. The strikes, which were accompanied by shelling, came after the Iranian-supported militia launched ballistic missiles toward the city of Marib. Coalition forces successfully intercepted the missiles, Yemeni army media said.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.

(AFP)