Arab coalition spokesman: Houthi militia looting worsening Yemeni crisis

A member of the Houthi militia arranges money donated by Houthi supporters on September 27, 2016. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 October 2018

Arab coalition spokesman: Houthi militia looting worsening Yemeni crisis

  • Colonel Al-Maliki highlighted the ongoing looting by the Houthi militia as the main issue
  • He claimed it has already exceeded more than $5.2 billion

DUBAI: Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition, said that the Houthis were causing problems that were directly affecting the Yemeni economy, Saudi news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported on Monday.

Colonel Al-Maliki highlighted the ongoing looting by the Houthi militia as the worst these problems, which he claimed has already exceeded more than $5.2 billion. The Houthis have collected more than 800 billion Yemeni riyals worth of taxes in ports that they controlled, he added, during a press conference of the coalition forces supporting the internationally recognized government of Yemen, which was held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Riyadh.

Al-Maliki said that the Houthi militia, backed by Iran, also stole a billion dollars from the General Organization for Insurance in Sanaa, and noted that all these hostilities by the Houthi militias were not of interest to the Yemeni people.

The Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs and many governmental and non-governmental organizations have condemned the actions of the Houthi militias.

Al-Maliki also stated that Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts to support the Yemeni economy was proof of its credibility. According to Al-Maliki, the Kingdom has donated $1 billion in 2014, deposited at the Central Bank of Yemen, with another $2 billion donation made in January of 2018 aimed at supporting the Yemeni currency.

King Salman also provided $200 million to the Yemen central bank in support of its financial position.

Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces

Updated 6 min 18 sec ago

Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces

  • Russian-backed regime forces try to retake villages seized by opposition forces and allied fighters
  • The clashes also left 26 pro-regime forces dead in the north of Hama province


BEIRUT: At least 10 civilians and 35 combatants, mostly pro-regime forces, were killed on Saturday in clashes and airstrikes that erupted at dawn in northwestern Syria, a war monitor said.

The flare-up came as Russian-backed regime forces tried to retake two villages seized by opposition forces and allied fighters earlier this month, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Since this morning, the Syrian regime and allied fighters have launched five failed attempts to regain control of Jibine and Tal Maleh in northwestern Hama province,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Syrian regime airstrikes killed nine opposition fighters, the war monitor said.

Ensuing clashes in the north of Hama province left 26 pro-regime forces dead, including eight who were killed in a mine explosion, the Observatory said.

In neighboring Idlib, regime airstrikes killed 10 civilians, including three children, the Observatory said.

The strikes hit the towns of Maaret Al-Numan and Al-Bara as well as the village of Al-Ftira, according to the war monitor.

The Idlib region of some 3 million people is supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in September.

But it was never fully implemented, as opposition refused to withdraw from a planned demilitarized zone.

In January, the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate extended its administrative control over the region, which includes most of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

The Syrian regime and Russia have upped their bombardment of the region since late April, killing nearly 400 civilians, according to the Observatory.

Turkey said on Friday that it did not accept Russia’s “excuse” that it had no ability to stop the Syrian regime’s continued bombardments in the last opposition bastion of Idlib.

“In Syria, who are the regime’s guarantors? Russia and Iran,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state news agency Anadolu in a televised interview.

“Thus we do not accept the excuse that ‘We cannot make the regime listen to us’,” he said.

His comments came as Turkey disagreed with Russia earlier this week after Moscow claimed a new cease-fire had been secured in the province following weeks of regime bombardments — a claim that was denied by Ankara.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-regime protests.

Russia launched a military intervention in support of the regime in 2015, helping its forces reclaim large parts of the country from opposition fighters and militants.