Yemen coalition resumes offensive to liberate Hodeidah after Houthis reject peace talks

A Houthi rebel inspects a burnt armored vehicle on September 13, 2018, reportedly destroyed in an air strike during clashes with Coalition-backed forces of Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi near the eastern entrance of the Yemeni city of Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 17 September 2018
0

Yemen coalition resumes offensive to liberate Hodeidah after Houthis reject peace talks

  • Hodeidah is crucial to the conflict because the Houthis use the port to smuggle arms and other military supplies from Iran
  • Coalition forces last week seized the main road linking Hodeidah to the capital, Sanaa

JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has resumed its offensive to liberate the vital Red Sea port of Hodeidah after proposed peace talks collapsed because Iranian-backed Houthi militias did not appear.

At least 32 Houthis have been killed in renewed clashes, including four on Sunday in a coalition airstrike on a radio station tower.

Coalition-backed Yemeni forces last week seized the main road linking Hodeidah to the capital, Sanaa, as part of a strategy to isolate the two cities, both occupied by the Houthis

The UN’s Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, arrived in Sanaa on Sunday, but made no statement. 

He is pushing for new peace talks after the failed attempt this month to bring the two sides together in Geneva.

Hodeidah is crucial to the conflict because the Houthis use the port to smuggle arms and other military supplies from Iran, including the components of missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia from launch sites in northern Yemen. The coalition has imposed a partial blockade on the port, which the Houthis seized in 2014.

Yemeni government forces launched a major operation in June to retake both the city and its port. The troops, backed by coalition airstrikes, have retaken a number of towns across Hodeida province but have not yet breached the city.

The coalition announced a temporary cease-fire in Hodeida in July to give a chance to UN-brokered peace talks.  


Syria Kurds urge world to take back foreign militants

Updated 24 March 2019
0

Syria Kurds urge world to take back foreign militants

  • The Kurdish administration’s top foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar warned that its foreign captives still pose a threat
  • Many of the suspected militants’ countries of origin are reluctant to take them back due to potential security risks

OMAR OIL FIELD, Syria: Syria’s Kurds warned Sunday that the thousands of foreign militants they have detained in their fight against the Daesh group are a time-bomb the international community urgently needs to defuse.
Speaking a day after Kurdish-led forces announced the final demise of the militants’ physical “caliphate,” the Kurdish administration’s top foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar warned that its foreign captives still pose a threat.
“There are thousands of fighters, children and women and from 54 countries, not including Iraqis and Syrians, who are a serious burden and danger for us and for the international community,” Omar said.
“Numbers increased massively during the last 20 days of the Baghouz operation,” he said, referring to the village by the Euphrates where diehard militants made a bloody last stand.
The fate of foreign Daesh fighters has become a major issue as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces closed in on the once-sprawling proto-state the militants declared in 2014.
After a months-long assault by the US-backed SDF to flush out the last Daesh strongholds in the Euphrates Valley, militants and their families gradually gathered in Baghouz as the last rump of the “caliphate” shrank around them.
While some managed to escape, many of the foreigners stayed behind, either surrendering to the SDF or fighting to the death.
According to the SDF, 66,000 people left the last Daesh pocket since January, including 5,000 militants and 24,000 of their relatives.
The assault was paused multiple times as the SDF opened humanitarian corridors for people evacuating the besieged enclave.
The droves of people scrambling out of Baghouz in recent weeks were screened by the SDF and dispatched to camps further north, where most are still held.
The de facto autonomous Kurdish administration is northeastern Syria has warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people, let alone put them on trial.
But many of the suspected militants’ countries of origin are reluctant to take them back due to potential security risks and a likely public backlash.
Some have even withdrawn citizenship from their nationals detained in Syria.
“There has to be coordination between us and the international community to address this danger,” Abdel Karim Omar said.
“There are thousands of children who have been raised according to IS ideology,” he added.
“If these children are not reeducated and reintegrated in their societies of origin, they are potential future terrorists.”